BOOK COVER: Author removes veil from prison life in new memoir

By Marissa Wells

Contributing Writer

“Time Served,” by T.L. Cromwell, is a memoir that offers an in-depth look at the author’s journey working for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for more than 20 years in two of the toughest male-only prisons.

“I share my experiences working in an environment that was often mundane, mixed with incidents of extreme violence and terror,” Cromwell said.

“Time Served” was inspired by the author’s encounters while navigating the field, where she began as a correctional officer and retired as a correctional captain.

“Most of the books you read are from the perspective of the incarcerated population; there are very, very few if any, written by prison staff,” Cromwell said. “So it was my desire to share my experience as an African-American woman working for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.”

The memoir sheds light on many of the hurdles Cromwell experienced, such as sexism and racism, while trying to navigate and elevate in a field historically reserved for men.

“I think a lot of women will see themselves, regardless of where they work, especially if it’s a predominately male dominated career field,” Cromwell said. “I think that there will be a lot of jewels, gems and nuggets that they can take away, based on my experience.”

“Time Served” is intended for a wide audience that includes those who are curious about what occurs in prisons and those obtaining an education in law, criminal justice, women’s studies and the social sciences.

It’s the author’s hope that her book proves informative for readers.

“Readers will gain an understanding of the modern American prison system,” Cromwell said. “The relationships between inmates, correctional officers and the physical, as well as psychological, dangers correctional officers face every day.”

“Time Served” is the author’s first book. She is currently working on a follow-up book that will delve further into her encounters within the prison system.

Cromwell is a Los Angeles native now residing in Houston, following retirement. For more information about the author and to stay up to date, visit her publisher’s website

“Time Served” is available for pre-orders for $24.95 (hardcover), $19.95 (paperback), and $9.99 (e-Book) via The book will be released this month and will be sold at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online book retailers.

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