Why Writers Belong Behind Bars*

Posted on 19/12/2012 by


I read an article the other day** that suggested that incarceration was good for writers. They cited a long list of examples of people who’d been locked up and then buckled down and produced some of their best work. Prison offered them the quintessential distraction free zone. Somehow I doubt that is still the case.

The following day I was reading an article about the prison system in America and came across this delightful little factoid:

At supermaxes, inmates are kept in solitary confinement for all but one or two hours per day.  …. Studies of long-term isolation have shown strong correlations to mental instability and incidences of psychosis.

And two thoughts crossed my mind. The first was, Well, madness is supposed to help the writing process too. The second was, A lot of the time I only see people one or two hours a day.

You know they say we create our own prisons… if that’s true, mine’s pretty nice. The warden’s a cutie pie, I get to make cookies, I can sleep under the coffee table if I like and my laptop’s in my cell with me.


Why do writers belong behind bars? Because that’s how they get to their drinks the fastest. Drum roll/facepalm. Your choice.

** Incidentally, the starting point for this particular internet rabbit hole that I wandered down is a delightful website called Criminal Wisdom. Which, if you’re a writer doing crime, is terribly interesting and can even be useful. Yes! Just like real research. Totally legit! No added sugar!

Banner in text that has letters with holes in coloured in, and in the main title has those which are coloured backwards. Reads: La Culte de Baiser Sans Fin Presents CRIMINAL WISDOM



Posted in: Kandace, Research