In the summer of 2015, Stan Transkiy was 16 years into a life sentence, and he had finally found a way to occupy his time. Inside the Marion Correctional Institution, which sits on green farmland off a series of quiet roads in rural Ohio, he had carved out a job running a recycling program, a gig that earned him nicknames like “The Garbage Man.” It was an apt description: Transkiy, bald and bearded, sometimes worked 14 hours straight and sorted, by his estimate, tens of thousands of pounds of trash over the years. He did the job well, according to an inmate job evaluation, even if he sometimes took work problems too personally. Marion was an improvement over Transkiy’s previous facility, Lebanon Correctional Institution. State inspectors had lauded Marion for “innovative thinking” that “infuses the environment.” In addition to the recycling initiative, the prison ran programs in education, aquatics, news, and gardening. It even hosted a TEDx event — part of a series of talks that, in 2013, drew Orange Is the New Black author Piper Kerman to speak alongside inmates and staff and eventually offer writing lessons in the facility. One day in August, Transkiy heard a voice boom… Read full this story
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