David Goldberg on Prison Lobbying

This story clip can be aligned to the following Ohio Department of Education Social Studies Standards:

  • American Government Content Statement #2Political parties, interest groups and the media provide opportunities for civic involvement through various means.
  • Contemporary World Issues Content Statement #6: Effective civic participation involves identifying problems or dilemmas, proposing appropriate solutions, formulating action plans, and assessing the positive and negative results of actions taken.



In this clip Dr. David Goldberg goes into detail about his experience lobbying around the country for better prison conditions. Once he was released from prison, he knew that traveling and lobbying were two things he wanted to accomplish. His goal was to make connections with lawyers and other legal help in order to pressure the government into improving conditions in federal prison. The first place he traveled was Washington, D.C., and once he found a place to stay he began his personal lobbying campaign. Many of the liberal representatives shared his concerns. A national spotlight had begun to shine on prison conditions, and Dr. Goldberg wrote a 25-page statement that was presented at several federal hearings on the topic.


Potential Classroom Uses:

Dr. Goldberg drew on his prison experiences as a draft resister to advocate for better prison conditions, doing so alone and outside of any organized protest movement. This clip can be used to demonstrate the “power of one” idea that even one voice can make a difference in our democratic society. It can also be used to discuss aspects of our political system and steps an individual can take to lobby for social change.

Follow this link for the whole interview: David Goldberg Interview, 29 June 2016

Photo credit: UW Digital Collections – Student protesters marching down Langdon Street, CC BY 2.0https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6329684

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