Tim McManus
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Tim McManus

Oz

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About Him

Grew up… in the town of Attica, N.Y. McManus was only a young child when the famous Attica riot broke out, but he’ll never forget the memorial services he attended that week. Several of Tim’s father’s friends who worked at the prison were injured or killed in the riots, which inspired Tim to try and fix America’s broken penal system.

Living… in hell. Even for the staff and administrators, life in Oswald State Penitentiary is one big battle. McManus, it seems, has to fight a war on two fronts: he must battle to improve the prisoners’ lives while also fighting Governor Devlin’s draconian, and mostly ineffective, prison policies.

Profession… manager of the experimental Emerald City unit within Oz. McManus sees it as his duty to improve the highly flawed prison system, and “Em City” is his laboratory for new rehabilitation techniques.

Interests… fixing prison culture. McManus sees his Emerald City project as his life’s work. He’s dedicated to every single inmate, even those that have been sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. He knows that Em City isn’t perfect. Prisoners still commit murders, do drugs and abuse one another, but McManus believes he has the answers to these problems. As he puts it, “I may be blind, but I’m not dumb.”

Relationship Status… single, and complicated. McManus has a bad habit of getting romantically involved with female staff members, which often causes conflicts of interest.

Challenge… proving to the stubborn Governor Devlin that prison is not only about punishment, but about rehabilitation. Currently, Tim feels, prison functions as something more like a training facility for criminals and sociopaths. Since it’s the state’s obligation to make the inmates fit to re-enter society, he firmly believes that a more enlightened approach is practical as well as moral.

Personality… idealistic to the point of naïveté. McManus has a powerful faith in his inmates, even if they’ve proven themselves to be unrepentant murderers and vicious psychotics. Still, he tries his best to stay tough and prevent the prisoners from taking advantage of him. As he tells inmate Kareem Said, “This is a prison, not a democracy.”

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