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  1. burt kozloff
    June 22, 2012

    Cullum was a remarkable figure at Lewisburg. He was at the same time highly visible and and unintrustive, whioch is quite a trick. Everyone respected him, guards and inmates alike. He once walked into a housing unit where a new young gay inmate had been harassed and threatened by a group of faux-macho hardheads, screamed at them for five minutes, and they just stood there, hung their heads and took it. There were no more problems.

    All those tough guys, with their swagger, their scowls, their talk and their bad attitude — every one of them knew that Cullum was stronger than any of them. I never heard anyone say a harsh word to him,and I knew a lot of people who would have had a much rougher trip without him. When he got out, he went right to work getting his life back on track, despite the encumbrances the prison system imposes on its clients in order to assure repeat business.

    I would note, however, that Bill pursued no overt political agenda at Lewisburg, gay, left, or otherwise. He instead focused on dignity, fairness, civility and respect — all commodities generally in short supply inside a jail or out, but all those there knew well that Bill offered them without qualification to anyone. I think the place might have been a lot more fractious without him, and certainly a lot less tolerable.

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