Book Feature: Real Prison Real Freedom by Rosser McDonald

by | Dec 15, 2021 | Book Feature | 0 comments

Real Prison Real Freedom tells the transformation of one of Texas Prisons’ most notorious inmates and a glimpse of the country’s prison system.

One primary purpose of prison is rehabilitation. It is supposed to transform criminals into law-abiding citizens. However, in many prisons, incarceration seems to produce ruthless individuals prone to violence and more criminal acts inside. Gangs and illegal activities thrive in prisons, and a modern-day miracle is witnessing a man transform from a hardened criminal to a God-fearing individual. Today, we will feature Real Prison Real Freedom by Rosser McDonald and learn more about the inspiring life story of Rickie Smith.

Real Prison Real Freedom: A Story of Transformation

Real Prison Real Freedom is a 2020 inspiring true transformation story that chronicles the life of inmate Rickie Smith. McDonald met Rickie Smith thirty years ago while filming his award-winning documentary about prison ministry. The man Rosser encountered was already a changed man. However, upon investigating Smith’s backstory, Rosser realized that his journey was radical and was inspired to document his life story.

Ricki Smith grew up with his adoptive parents, who were not exactly the model type. At a young age, he started getting into fights. He first saw jail time when he was only 14 years old. Little did the young Rick know that he would later spend his whole life in prison. In 1983, his life would change after being sentenced to 10 years in prison for criminal mischief and possession of a controlled substance. Later, a 99-year sentence was added for attempted murder. Smith became a member of the white supremacist Aryan Brotherhood and, over the years, built a reputation as “the most violent inmate in Texas prisons.”

Rosser McDonald believes that Rickie Smith’s life story is a powerful testimony to what can happen if we surrender ourselves to God.

“It’s a tremendous story that shows the difference of life before Christ—when Rickie was living his life his way—and after Christ—when he began doing things God’s way. He went from being one of the worst to being one of the best in the Texas prison system.”

Rickie Smith’s transformation began when his on-again, off-again girlfriend became acquainted with Bob and Nelda Norris. The couple operated the Huntsville Hospitality House, a Texas Baptist-sponsored ministry to the visiting families of inmates. Bob Norris then began writing to Smith, letting him know that Jesus loved him and wanted him to experience peace and rest.

After years of violence, Rick eventually reached a point of desperation and begged Jesus to give him peace and rest. He reread Bob’s letter and completely surrendered himself to God and the gospel. He broke ties with the Aryan Brotherhood and took deliberate steps to forgive those who had wronged him and ask forgiveness of those he had hurt. Today, Smith remains in the Alfred Hughes Unit in Gatesville, Texas, still serving time while providing hope and inspiration to his fellow inmates.

Real Prison Real Freedom is a compelling book that will remind us that miracles can happen and that a person can still change for good.

About the Author

Rosser McDonald is a veteran writer and an award-winning reporter for television in Oklahoma and Texas. Before he became a news reporter, Rosser McDonald was a seismographer. He worked for twenty-eight years as a producer at the Radio and Television Commission, SBC. Rosser spent twelve of those years producing and writing documentary scripts for NBC TV stations which brought two Emmy Award nominations. Rosser is married to his wife, Glenda, a life-long musician, playing piano and organ.

You can purchase Rosser McDonald’s compelling book Real Prison Real Freedom through Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Christian Activities, and Target. You can also visit his website to know more about Rosser McDonald and his works.


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