The media has made society well aware of the illegal activities of convicts, but most information stops when the convicts reach the prison gates.
Betty Gilmore, director of Southern Methodist University’s Conflict Management and Dispute Resolution Program, will share her research on the matter in her upcoming book: “The Darkest Hour: Shedding Light on the Impact of Solitary Confinement and Death Row in Texas Prison.”
Gilmore earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Southern Methodist University. Throughout her career, she has served in training, consulting, private practice and worked in psychiatric facilities. Her interests have been catered to citizens struggling in the social justice system.
Currently, Gilmore teaches at SMU where she counsels and teaches dispute resolution programs. She is actively involved in her community where she is a board member of Texas After Violence, and the former director for the Center for Public Policy Dispute Resolution at the University of Texas.
Gilmore’s book delves in depth into the lives of men who live behind bars and highlights the impact of their isolation. Dr. Gilmore worked with Nanon Williams, a former death row inmate, and together they form a vivid picture of the horrors of the lives of those who await their death. Williams provided insight that challenges proper humane treatment of convicts in prisons.
The book confronts society’s views of morality and ethics by portraying consequences of the harsh treatment of those sentenced to death and the unseen implications of the deaths among family and friends.
“The Darkest Hour” highlights the corrupt incarceration laws of the Unites States with specific focus on the Texas prison system. Gilmore provides an alternative view of the men behind their labelled name as prisoners and makes readers question the meaning of justice.
Although Gilmore’s book has not been released, the injustice Gilmore raises in the book has elicited awareness and praise.
“It has been pointed out that more can be learned about a society from the way it treats its prisoners than the way it treats those on the outside,” Kenneth Cloke, author of “Conflict Revolution: Mediating Evil, War, Injustice and Terrorism,” and former judge said.
Susan Sarandon notes, “this book will inspire you to view all people through the lens of empathy and compassion.”
In 2007, Dallas Country Jail became involved with Resolana, a non-profit agency providing gender-specific programming to female offenders. In 2013, Volunteers of America Texas merged with Resolana. Dallas County Sherriff Lupe Valdez comments, Dallas County Jail’s “merger with Volunteers of America Texas, which plants a young, community-based program in a bigger field, creates exciting potential to benefit public safety and save tax dollars by reducing recidivism in Dallas County and beyond.” This is more of a pressing issue than people realize, when Resolana came to Dallas there were 900 incarcerated women, so 900 families affected, and 900 families in need of Resolana’s and Dallas’ services.
Gilmore has created one of the numerous links where SMU students can get involved in the local community. Passionate and interested students are encouraged to get involved in this important issue that can be changed one community at a time.
Coincidentally, this week marks the 6th Annual National Prisoner’s Family Conference in Dallas where Gilmore will speak about the research discussed in her upcoming book. Former prisoners and families will participate in this three day event to receive help, comfort and inspiration from previous prisoners. A variety of other services will be provided such as workshops and networking.
This event will be held at the Night Hotel in North Dallas Wednesday through Friday. Interested parties should visit the website at www.prisonersfamilyconference.org or call 915-861-7733.