Prisons Of The Mind, Dementia In Aging Inmates

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About Julie Gillis

Julie Gillis is a coach, writer, and producer focused on social justice, sex, and spirituality. She is dedicated to sexual freedom and education, equality for the LGBTQ community, and ending sexual violence. Julie intuitively helps people live their fullest lives, navigating terrain from relationships to sex education. She writes at The Austin Chronicle, Good Vibes Magazine, Flurtsite and Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter@JulesAboutTown


  1. Tom Matlack says:

    Julie what an amazing piece. THANK YOU.

    Yes, when I read this piece it felt like just a little window into how in this one little way we are allowing men to be human who have been long forgotten. My exposure to the penal system has been so moving, shocking, frankly horrifying that seeing human compassion show up in this way moves me to tears.

  2. I cried when I read the piece. Especially when I got to this quote, which in my humble opinion, sums up the power of the Gold Coats Program: (quoted from the NYT) Mr. Cañas said: “I didn’t have any feelings about other people. I mean, in that way, I was a predator.” Now, he said, “I’m a protector.”

  3. My Mother is 63 and at the end stages of early onset dementia. I can not imagine going through this alone and it is one of my biggest fears. We are afraid my mother will be alone when she dies but she has been with us during her entire illness, I can not imagine her alone. It breaks my heart.

  4. Justin Cascio says:

    My God, we need each other so much. We really are all we have.

  5. spidaman3 says:

    This is a great piece Julie. People need to be reminded that criminals are in the end human beings.

  6. I loved this piece. It hit home for me.My husband is incarcerated in a Hawaii Jail right now.Since hes been incarcerated he has seen the jail psychiatrist.The psychiatrist diagnosed him with the early onset of Alzheimers.My husband is 54 and his long term memory is just about gone.We have three grandchildren he cared for 2 years ago for approximately three months and he does not even remember there names.His short term memory seems to be still in tact and he can still take care of his hygenic needs.He has court on July 24th 2012. His crimes were not violent nor involved drugs , alcohol or sexual abuse.They were theft crimes.The reason for his incarceration was due to probation violations with the crimes he committed.He has violations both in California and Hawaii. He has been dealing with the long term memory loss for a long time.More than five years. I think some of his reasoning skills may have been faulty when committing the crimes he committed.He would reason things he had done by saying he did them to protect me or try and make life better for me or something to that effect. He never wanted me to know that he was suffering memory loss so he would just say oh yes I remember that even though he did not remember it just to make it look like he was fine.When all the time hes been suffering. And until now he never wanted to show me the real him, the weak side of him.Now hes accepting it for what it is. I would never say he should not be punished for what he did but in light of his having this awful disease should not the courts be more sensitive to the families of these inmates and give them the opportunity to take care of there loved ones themselves instead of sticking them behind bars and allowing someone who may have committed murder to take care of them?Hopefully my husband will not have to suffer any more time in jail and be returned to probation as these violations were due to his inability to understand what probation in both states actually meant at the time of sentencing.But again I loved this article thank you


  1. [...] I’ve also been writing a bit for The Good Men Project, such as this piece, about Birth Control being a man’s issue too, and this piece about Aging Prison Inmates with Dementia. [...]

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