Two of the coauthors, Jim and Todd, were once in prison together.
But only for a day.
Several years ago, we spent the day in Solano California State Prison in Vacaville, California visiting a friend, David, who had been influenced by an earlier book we had written about how to thrive in – not just survive – conflict.
David, now integrated into society outside prison walls, was an inmate and, at the time, was leading classes for other inmates on the topic of conflict resolution, largely based on our book.
He had invited us there to meet with some of the hundreds of students he had led in exploring the principles of peace-making.
On the appointed day we went to the prison, passed through a gauntlet of metal detectors, and received our plastic whistles.
“Plastic whistles?” we asked.
“Yes” said the corrections officer with a smile. “In the event you get into a hostage situation, California state law says we can’t negotiate for your release. If you sense trouble, blow your whistle as loudly as you can and hopefully an officer can get to you before things escalate”.
We looked at each other…..