Letters for April 11, 2002

Prison fiction
Re “Diary of a Prison Fish” [RN&R, April 4]:

As interesting as I found “Diary of a Prison Fish” to be, I also found it to be highly exaggerated. Jimmy Lerner’s an educated convict (and murderer) trying to cash in on the romanticism affiliated with outlaws and the tales of prison life (Papillion, Shawshank Redemption).

I questioned Jimmy Lerner’s accounts from the opening note regarding the Nevada Department of Corrections statement of its inaccuracy. So I called a friend who had spent 18 months up in Susanville (manslaughter) and had become savvy to the California prison system.

What I found was intriguing. Rapes? Practically non-existent. My friend explained to me that the state has a job of keeping you alive in there and that includes overseeing your general well-being. Shivs? Well, they’re actually called shanks, and no, they are not everywhere. This problem was dealt with by frequent and random searches. And here’s something: Most prison systems (not jails) provide access to the outdoors (the yard) eight to 10 hours a day, a decent library, steaks, cable television and in my friend’s case, civilian dress days. To protect family values, lovemaking sessions are allowed for married prisoners and their wives in guarded trailers for up to four hours.

Now, although I’m sure that in that lovely population, bad things can happen, for the most part, Jimmy Lerner’s account sounds highly fictitious. So please, if you think that You Got Nothin Comin’ is going to provide you with an appreciation for your freedom, rent Papillion.

Greg C.
via e-mail at 2 a.m. Monday

Changed mind on prison
Re “Prison Fiction” [RN&R Letters, April 11]:

I stand corrected. You were indeed right. Prison is not a nice place. After talking tonight with a friend who did time in “yard 4” in Pelican Bay, I now believe Mr. Lerner’s book to be, for the most part, believable. I just may have to purchase this book. The previous assumptions I had made regarding prisoner life were based on an interview with a “yard 1” level inmate. It appears I was the “fish” of this story. Perhaps this diary will become the next Papillion or Shawshank Redemption. Excellent story.

Greg C.
via e-mail at 2 a.m. Tuesday

Scientology works
Re “Scientology Evil?” and “Scientology Expensive” [RN&R Letters, April 4]:

After seeing the opinions during the past couple of weeks on people who “checked out Scientology” on the Internet, I wanted to give you my thoughts.

I went down a couple of months ago and did one of their personality tests. When the results were explained to me, it was a true picture of who I was. So much so that it was startling. Because it was so accurate and because everyone there was so nice, I decided to take one of the courses (of my own free will). I can honestly say that the course was geared toward improving my life, and it did.

So I think Scientology works, and as far as I can tell, it is a good thing. And I trust my limited experience much more than someone who checked it out on the Internet.

Good thing these people didn’t find a “Working for a Living” or a “Living with Others” Web site with opinions on it. It might make them crawl into a hole somewhere and never come out.

Christina Vittorinovia e-mail

Someone likes Grimm
You are doing an excellent and professional job on your movie reviews. I appreciate an honest person, and you have saved me a lot of time and money by checking your reviews before renting or seeing a certain movie. I wish you had a Web site so your incredible knowledge would be accessible all of the time, because the RN&R isn’t easily available here in Fallon.

I really only look forward to your opinions, as I am not as liberal as the rest of the paper is, as far as politics, etc. But I can filter through those opinions to get to the one that really counts—yours! So keep up the good work, ignore the critics because they are just insecure and need a punching bag, and tell your boss I said you need a raise! I bet you could work in a much bigger city if you wanted to!


Editor’s note: To read Bob Grimm’s excellent and professional film reviews from afar, visit us online at www.newsreview.com.