Photo by Jessey Dearing for the Boston Globe

Reporter David Abel visited Massachusetts prisons to try to break down the barriers of consciousness that prisons raise about prisoners’ daily environment and experience. Here, he describes the grimness of his experience dressing in prisoners’ clothes and sleeping on the other side of the walls, despite the absence for him of what are probably the most defining aspects of the experience of incarceration– involuntary, long-term commitment, extreme power disparities, racism, and abuse, for example.