A really powerful & timely philosophical practice.
Every Wednesday, I go to Riverbend Maximum Security Prison in Nashville to facilitate a discussion group with prisoners on death row and philosophy graduate students. It’s a nice prison, as far as prisons go: clean, suburban-feeling, with a soapy smell that lingers on my hands and clothes after I leave. The reception area is filled with motivational posters of determined mountain climbers and goal-oriented rowing teams. Beyond the checkpoint, an ordinary sidewalk leads to death row. The path is lined with beige wooden fences and topiary shaped like giant bathtub stoppers. We pass through a series of grey doors and empty hallways until we reach the smiling faces of ten men who have been condemned to death by the state of Tennessee.