Cromwell’s story provides valuable insights into prison life for everyone, specifically details of the work of correctional officers. She doesn’t assume that the reader has existing context but spells out definitions, including a helpful glossary. Photos of Cromwell and the places she worked through her career also help humanize her and her coworkers. As her story continues, the reader begins to feel the stress and emotional exhaustion rising in themselves as well, making her desire to retire very relatable. She is rightfully proud of her career, advancing up the prison hierarchy and building a secure life for herself and her daughter.
Through her years working in prisons, Cromwell faced challenges of many types, and Time Served is a compelling record of how she overcame them. She took on difficult jobs, opted for more responsibility, tried to be fair to those she managed and to inmates. Even though she felt disrespected and physically overmatched at times, she built a strong emotional armor to keep doing her job. Her story is an inspiration: as a Black woman in a field without many role models, she succeeded and built a community for other women to follow. Readers interested in California prisons from the perspective of a correctional officer will appreciate this memoir of one Black woman’s career.
Takeaway: Gripping memoir of life as corrections officer in California prisons.
Comparable Titles: George Gregory’s Alcatraz Screw, Ronnie Thompson’s Screwed.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A