Jamie Markham Pens the School of Government’s First Graphic Novel

In Prison graphic novel

In October 2017, the School of Government published its first graphic novel, In Prison: Serving a Felony Sentence in North Carolina, written by School faculty member James Markham and North Carolina Department of Public Safety employee Shane Tharrington, with illustrations by Jason Whitley, a graphic designer at the UNC School of Pharmacy. This first-of-its-kind publication describes for inmates, victims, and their families how a felony sentence is served in North Carolina, following an inmate from the moment the sentence is pronounced to the day post-release supervision is completed, explaining where and how time will be served.

Markham, who also authors the North Carolina Sentencing Handbook among other resources for attorneys and judicial officials, said, “It’s helpful to present the same information different ways.” Whitley’s illustrations help flesh out Markham’s and Tharrington’s narrative in explaining the procedural aspects of serving a felony prison sentence in North Carolina. The illustrations also help translate the complicated inner workings of a criminal judgment into a real-world explanation of where and for how long a person is likely to be incarcerated. The publication also shows the types of work and programs an inmate might participate in and what sort of sentence reduction can be expected from such participation.

Two additional graphic novels are forthcoming—one about being on probation, and another about serving time in the county jail. Markham also uses other media to teach about sentencing corrections. He writes for the North Carolina Criminal Law Blog, hosts a YouTube channel (Sentencing Whiteboard), and has more than 4,000 followers on Twitter (@jamie_markham).