An early Winner of the Project Censored Award of Excellence; I Cried, You Didn't Listen is a powerful story. It is shocking, haunting and brutal. Although it is a rare and valuable document, what is exceptional is not Dwight Abbott's experience, but his clarity and courage in sharing that experience. Dwight tells the disturbing tale of a very young child, first committed to the care of the state because of family tragedy and bad luck.
Once institutionalized, he must learn to live within the cruel dynamics of a system that grants power through violence and leaves children at the mercy of predatory adults. He is continually faced with the need to choose between dehumanizing options: Be predator or be prey.
Even in Dwight's description of racialist violence we see the effect that the social system has had on him – cementing stereo-types and prejudices that become self-fulfilling prophesy. Dwight's account is terrifying. Upon reading it, one must recognize that, faced with the stark choice between victimizing another and being a victim oneself, the morals and values that make sense in freedom fall away. Perpetrating violence appears as the best option for self-preservation. This is the fundamental dynamic at work in Dwight's institutional life.
I Cried, You Didn't Listen shows that, within incarcerating institutions, violence in all its forms – sexual assault, cliques, crews, gangs, emotional abuse – is essentially about power and control both over and above one’s own sense of self. - Books not Bars
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In CONSEQUENCE: the aftermath, Dwight Abbott shares with us stories of his time in adult prisons in California, Washington and Oregon - exactly as the title suggests - the CONSEQUENCE of his early life being "state raised" by the California Youth Authority.
In CONSEQUENCE you will read about the forming of prison gangs in the late 1950s/early 1960s, formed not for control, but for protection of "their own," of the violence that was a part of everyday life in prisons like San Quentin and Folsom, the forming of friendships and the loss of life that became so commonplace it no longer affected those around them.
While reading this book you will go through a gauntlet of emotions: everything from horror at the violence, to a sense of respect for men who survived what few of us ever could, at least not and retain our sanilty.
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In the Convict and the Gopher, Abbott tells of an unlikely friendship between himself and a helpless gopher found abandoned and hurt on the prison yard.
For those who think all inmates are monsters, read this heartwarming story. You will see that not all convicts are uncaring and cruel, especially to the smaller and weaker of earth's creatures who have nobody to protect them.
To purchase "Convict and the Gopher" along with the books - including a "duology" of both books togehter - and inmate artwork, please go to: