The Law: Prison Playwright

"I was going insane in that room," says "Roach" Brown. A onetime street hustler convicted of murder, he was talking about his solitary confinement after a 1968 riot at the Lorton Reformatory near Washington, D.C. Brown lost track of time—first the date, then the day of the week, eventually even night and day. "I used to talk to myself and laugh and cry," he remembers. "I wanted someone to see me, to say they cared." Finally, one day, the sliding panel in his cell door clicked open, a hand reached in with two packs of cigarettes plus a ration of candy,...

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