Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of 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.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend