BEHIND BARS by

BEHIND BARS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Rabbi Leibert served as prison chaplain at Alcatraz, Folsom and San Quentin. He is also a lawyer recognized by the California bar. He relates twenty or so convicts histories in an effort to show the futility of the prison systems and the need for a particular mode of rehabilitation based not upon punishment but prevention. He would substitute hospitals and effective job training for convicts. However, in the stories he tells, the high incidence of mental disorders seems less related to poor job training before the convicts were jailed than to an unavoidable streak in human nature. Few readers will deny his conclusions, though, that depth analysis, job training preparatory to re-entering civil life, and building a convict's self-confidence are more valuable than grim walls and heavier bars tomorrow. Among the prisoners he discusses is Caryl Chessman, whose book Cell 2455 Rabbi Leibert thinks should never have been published. Nor has he a high opinion of Chessman. He also tells at length why he finally resigned and turned to more practical rather than spiritual help for ""kidnap-rapist"" Eddie Wein. Most of the convicts' stories are handled through dialogues and have a bizarre humor. This is a valuable contribution to enlightened penology by a man with no wool over his eyes.

Publisher: Doubleday