As a criminal justice professional, I sometimes get the opportunity to attend national criminal justice conferences. These trips offer a wealth of knowledge and help me learn about national trends throughout the justice system. They also give me some great opportunities to explore some really cool places.
Last year, one of the conferences was in San Francisco, California. I’ve been there before, but only for a day, so I was excited to spend a little more time in the city. My top priority was getting a tour of Alcatraz. It was a bit of an ordeal, but eventually, I was fortunate enough to make it to the island. Once the boat docked, an announcement was made that there was a book signing taking place that afternoon in the gift shop. One of the last living Alcatraz inmates had authored a book, and he was present to sign as many copies as people wanted to buy. I’m a sucker for a signed book, and the fact that it pertained to a federal prison, while I was in town for a criminal justice convention just made it that much better.
I soaked up the sights and sounds of the audio tour while I wandered through the cell house, but my mind was pushing me toward the gift shop the whole time. I entered the gift shop and navigated through two or three different rooms and there was no sight of a book signing anywhere. Then I turned another corner, and there sat William G. Baker, flanked by stacks of his books. He sat peacefully at his table, signing books and answering questions as tourists from around the world approached him. I’m sure he’s probably heard any and every question hundreds of times already, but he remained cordial and patient with every visitor, myself included. Continue reading