Thanks for the nice article about Steve McNamara ’55 and his work with the San Quentin News (cover story, March 22). I worked as a psychiatrist with prisoners in the Washington, D.C., system for 15 years, and I know exactly what he’s talking about. If you get to the point where there is mutual trust (which is a lot easier than one might think), you see quickly how much parental example influences behavior. You want to help, not punish, and it’s amazing how easy it is to help with just time and energy. Prisoners are generally people who have nothing and are extremely grateful for anything you give them. And there are so many interesting, decent, and brilliant people locked up!
In Response to: The Altruist