Life After Life in Prison
June 15-July 17, 2016
by Judith Clark, Inmate No. 83 G 0313
I cannot visit this extraordinary exhibit because I am incarcerated in the same maximum-security prison from which the women you are “meeting” all emerged. I have seen these images of my friends and former neighbors and I am struck by their vibrancy and openness, and the way each personality is expressed through their clothes, their bedrooms, and free-world faces. I see, too, their hard work in low-paying jobs, their limited housing options, and family and health concerns.
I look at these photos and see the life we talked about and yearned for while together inside. Their steps outward fuel my own hopes and dreams.
I look at the photos and remember that these beautiful individuals were once, like me, uniformed and numbered, strip-searched and regimented, suspected, stigmatized and humiliated as maximum-security prisoners doing time. I look at their images and remember each woman’s difficult journey of remorse for the harm she caused, her worries about family and children, and her efforts toward repair and redemption. I see the thread that connects each woman’s life before the crime and prison, her years inside and now out.
I hope that you can expand your gaze, to see both what is in front of you and what remains hidden and locked away. Behold and wonder.
JUDITH CLARK has served 34 years of a 75-year-to-life sentence for her role as a getaway driver in a 1981 robbery in Nyack, New York, that left three people dead. She is known inside and outside prison as a respected educator and caring role model. Ms. Clark is not eligible for parole until 2056. She is seeking clemency from Governor Andrew Cuomo. For more information: www.judithclark.org.
Please visit www.lifeafterlifeinprison.com for more information on the artist.