Art, Humanizing Human


Imagine 6’4″  male inmate doing a role play as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. Weird? It happened in Ohio Prison.

Prisons are supposed to be about rehabilitation, but it seems like many people forget that. This is especially true when inmates are in there for long stretches.

Various people have tried to find ways to make prison into a more rehabilitating place than it is, but there’s one guard who had an idea that had probably never been though of before: putting on a play with inmates. The play he chose? The Wizard of Oz.

This was the brainchild of a guard named Darwin Secrest who has a reputation of being a “hard ass.”

When the 6’4” Joseph Sims stepped onto the stage dressed as Dorothy, there was of course some sniggering in the crowd full of inmates and prison guards.

When he started singing, however, the room quickly went silent, and by the end of the play, the crowd had been won over. The brave inmates who participated ended the night to a standing ovation.


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