From September 1986 through June 1989, I was the artist in residence at California Institution for Men, a men's prison in Chino. Two days a week, from one in the afternoon to nine at night, I taught any inmate who was interested the basics of video production.
In the beginning, my presence was looked at with skepticism, after all, cameras are listed along with guns, alcohol and drugs as being a felony offense if you bring them into the prison. We went from having no equipment or space to work, to having a room with lights, cameras and a VHS editing system.
What kept me going back, week after week, was the feeling that the work we were doing made a difference to the people who participated in the workshops - the prisoners. I'm grateful for having the opportunity to work with over 600 men and women, and experience the people who we call "the worst of society" at their best. - Gary Glassman
Selections from the Prison Video Workshop.