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Larry Neal, author of ‘Unguarded Moments’

Larry E. Neal worked at the Missouri State Penitentiary from 1984 through its close in 2004. He began as a labor supervisor and ended his career as the chief engineer at the Jefferson City Correctional Center. He is the author of ‘Unguarded Moments: Stories of Working Inside the Missouri State Penitentiary.’

In this first memoir about life in the Missouri State Penitentiary by a worker who was neither a prisoner nor a guard, Larry E. Neal reveals a portrait of prison life very different from common conceptions. As a maintenance worker, Neal led prisoner work crews, and his stories show that life inside the prison walls could be surprisingly lighthearted, with prisoners and staff playing pranks on each other and crawling through dark tunnels together. In addition to a rare insider’s view into prison humor, Unguarded Moments also gives readers a window into the rhythms of daily life inside and the shared humanity of everyone behind the walls.