Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


Richard Kamler’s muse is the cell block. Nearly 20 years of work as a teacher and artist in residence at jails, prisons, and halfway houses inspired Kamler to create The Table of Voices: Conversations on the Criminal Justice System. Currently featured at San Francisco’s Alcatraz Island, the work enables visitors to hear the taped voices of victims and perpetrators of violent crime. Its focal point is a long “visiting room” table of gold leaf and lead, bisected by a thick safety glass. Opposing rows of phones connect listeners to the participants’ stories of grief and rage — and to their stories of reconciliation and forgiveness. One woman “sits” across the table from her son’s killer. She had pushed for a maximum sentence, but after realizing rage was consuming her, she eventually worked for the man’s early release. “He helped me understand the power of forgiveness,” she says. Victims’ rights groups have protested Kamler’s attention to the murderers’ stories, claiming they do a disservice to the memory of their murdered friends and family members. But Kamler says the work’s purpose is to reveal the humanity of all those involved with a crime. “Without models of forgiveness — types of behavior we can aspire to — we have little hope.” Despite the attention it has received, the table may soon go silent. Kamler plans shows for Detroit and Chicago, but says he has had a problem finding venues with room for the 54-foot table. For information, call (415) 566-3811.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate