Prison Nurse

Mayhem, Murder and Medicine

Non-Fiction - Memoir
129 Pages
Reviewed on 10/24/2019
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Keyla Damaer for Readers' Favorite

Prison Nurse: Mayhem, Murder and Medicine by Ellen Kane is a memoir of the author's experiences as a nurse working in a correctional center. Through her personal experiences and memories of events that happened to others, the reader learns about bad men doing bad things, but mostly good men doing bad things. As a divorced woman and a single mother, Kane found this job close to her heart, at first in substitution for another nurse on maternity leave and for the night shift. Even though she was not enthusiastic about the opening offered, she accepted knowing that once inside she had more chances for other openings. As a matter of fact, she was right: after some time she moved to the evening shift.

As someone who has worked as a volunteer in the correctional system of my country, I was delighted to read this memoir by Ellen Kane. Prison Nurse: Mayhem, Murder and Medicine is a recollection of real events that happened between 1985 and 1995 in the Stillwater State Prison in Minnesota. In a refreshing style, Kane introduces the reader to a system of locked doors and bars where life is not easy, not only for the permanent residents but also for the employees. Through her eyes, we witness the evolution of the American correctional system from rehabilitation centers to warehouses, to stocking inmates like in an overbooked hotel. Despite the tough subject, I read the book in two days and was almost disappointed when I realized it was over.