12 Best Books About Prison Update 05/2022

Last Tuesday, President Joe Biden signed an executive order that will stop the Department of Justice from using private prisons. This will happen over time.\ People like Angela Y. Davis, who have been fighting for the abolition of prisons and mass incarceration for a long time, are now getting more attention because of the order.

To help you find the best books from independent publishers about prison, we’ve put together this list: These books are a good place to start if you want to learn more about the problem of prisons. They include treatises on mass incarceration as well as stories that show the human cost of the prison industrial complex. If you want to buy any of these books, we think you should go to your local independent bookstore. Your business helps keep these important cultural institutions alive during this difficult time.

We Do This ‘Til We Free Us by Mariame Kaba

Mariame Kaba, an activist and educator, shares her thoughts on abolishing the prison industrial complex and a vision for collective liberation in this video.

Suppose we don’t have to wait for someone else to save us. What if we could free ourselves together as a group? Mariame Kaba talks about the hard work of abolishing slavery and changing politics in this collection of essays and interviews that is right now. It includes chapters on seeking justice outside of the punishment system, changing the way we deal with harm and accountability, and finding hope in the collective fight for abolition. Kaba’s work is based on the belief that we can change the world. Is what Kaba says true: “Nothing we do that’s important is done by ourselves.”

Beyond Survival: Strategies and Stories from the Transformative Justice Movement edited by Ejeris Dixon and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

To solve violence at the ground level, transformative justice doesn’t use punishment or policing, but instead tries to help people change their behavior. Community-based methods for preventing crime and fixing its damage have been around for a long time. Because of the harsh nature of today’s criminal justice systems, they are often overlooked and run their businesses out of the public’s eye. Beyond Survival puts these strategies at the top of the list as real alternatives to the failed models of confinement and “correction” that are still used today.

Prison by Any Other Name by Maya Schenwar and Victoria Law

Using electronic means to keep an eye on things. There are drug treatment centers that have been locked down. At home, you can’t do anything. Psychiatric treatment that is required. Detection based on data. Term probation. If you don’t want to pay for a jail or a prison, these are some of the main alternatives. So-called reforms, on the other hand, tend to widen the net, adding new punishments and controls, and putting new groups of people, who wouldn’t have been imprisoned before, under the state’s control.

There are politicians on both sides of the political spectrum who want to change the way mass incarceration is done. These steps are supposed to help us fight high rates of prison, but instead, they’re making our homes and communities prisons.

Solitary by Albert Woodfox.

He was held in solitary confinement for over 40 years, and it was all because he didn’t do anything wrong. This is the story of his life, and it will stay with you for a long time. As a result of the violence and deprivation he had to deal with every day, Albert Woodfox had to be very strong to live. To come out the other side of his odyssey in prison and the courts in the United States is a victory for the human spirit, and his book is a call to end the inhumanity of being held in solitary confinement in the United States as well as around the world.

Making Abolitionist Worlds by The Abolition Collective

Making Abolitionist Worlds is a book that brings together important ideas and interventions from the international abolitionist movement today to ask: what does an abolitionist world look like? The Abolition Collective looks at the most important issues facing social justice and the liberatory power of social movements today from a variety of personal, political, and analytical points of view. They emphasize the need for an abolitionist politics that places prisons at the center of its critique and action.

Until We Reckon by Danielle Sered

Despite the fact that more than half of the people in prison in the United States today have committed violent crimes, most reformers have focused on nonviolent and drug crimes. In Danielle Sered’s brilliant and ground-breaking book, Until We Reckon, she doesn’t hold back when she talks about violence. She gives ideas that will help end mass incarceration and make the world a better place.

In this article, Sered asks us to think again about the purpose of incarceration. He says that people who commit violent crimes should be asked to take responsibility for their actions and make amends in ways that make sense to the people they have hurt. None of this happens in the context of a criminal trial or a prison sentence.

Life Sentences: Writings from Inside an American Prison edited by The Elsinore-Bennu Think Tank for Restorative Justice

Poetry and prose by six incarcerated men, Life Sentences: Writings from Inside an American Prison is a mix of a prison memoir, history, philosophy, policy document or manifesto. It’s called “Life Sentences: Writings from Inside an American Prison.” People who write about restorative justice met at the State Correctional Institution in Pittsburgh, and they started a group called the Elsinore Bennu Think Tank for Restorative Justice in 2013 to talk about how to make things better for people. Throughout the years, the men met together every week with other people who were writers, activists, and politicians. They bonded over the writing of this book. Life Sentences is more than just a collection of short stories. It is based on the idea of restorative justice, which tries to heal communities that have been damaged by both criminal and state violence by working together. It’s also a how-to guide for people who are stuck in any community and a letter of invitation, asking people to join the incarcerated and their families so we can all keep flying over walls, form loving relationships with each other, and teach each other how to be free.

Understanding Mass Incarceration by James Kilgore

Understanding Mass Incarceration is based on a growing body of academic and professional work. It explains in simple terms the many competing theories of criminal justice, from rehabilitation to retribution, from restorative justice to justice reinvestment, and so on. in an easy-to-follow way, author James Kilgore explains the difference between prisons and jail. He also explains the War on Drugs, broken windows policing, three strikes sentencing and the school to prison pipeline. He also talks about recidivism and prison privatization. As someone who studies race and gender, he looks at things that are often left out of the conversation: how quickly women, Latinos, and transgender people are imprisoned, as well as how incarceration has a negative impact on communities.

Decarcerating America edited by Ernest Drucker

People who work in the criminal justice reform movement write about their ideas in the book. There are sections on front-end approaches, prison conditions, and re-entry in it. For example, Common Justice’s Danielle Sered talks about programs that work for young people who have violent crimes. Robin Steinberg, from the Bronx Defenders, wants more money for defense attorneys so they don’t have to make plea deals. Kathy Boudin, from the Bronx Defenders, suggests changes to the parole model; Jeannie Little, from the Bronx Defenders, has a solution for mental health and drug addiction problems; and Eric Lotke, from the Bronx Defenders, has ideas for replacing the prison economy. Epidemiology can help us get rid of what he calls “a plague of prisons.”

Prison Nation

Almost all of the prisons and jails in the United States don’t allow inmates to have cameras. At a time when 2.2 million people are in prison in the United States, 3.8 million people are on probation, and 870,000 former prisoners are on parole, how can images tell the story of mass incarceration when the people who are in prison don’t have control over how they are shown? This issue ofAperturemagazine was put together with the help of a scholar who specializes in art and incarceration. Nicole R. Fleetwood, who is an expert on art and incarceration, helped put this issue together.

I Am Not a Juvenile Delinquent by Sharon Charde

When a psychotherapist, teacher, and writer is heartbroken after the death of a child, she volunteers as a poetry teacher at a residential treatment center for “delinquent” young girls, where they live. Here, they help each other grow and thrive, but not without a lot of drama and stubbornness.

As the book I Am Not a Juvenile Delinquent shows, there was a lot of excitement about getting people’s voices out into the world. Through weekly writing, Sharon and the girls were able to express their grief and realize how much they could do.

Hummingbird in Underworld by Deborah Tobola

Debra Tobola comes back to San Luis Obispo, where she was born. She works in the prison her father worked in while he was at Cal Poly. The only difference is that she’s not in uniform like he was. She’s there to teach creative writing and run the prison’s arts program, which is a dream job.

During the time she spends making a theater program for inmates, Tobola comes across a lot of drama that isn’t on stage. There is no outside contact except by phone. There are officers who think prisoners don’t deserve programs; bureaucrats who want to cut arts funding, and inmates who steal, or do other bad things, all inside. That’s not all: She also likes to get prisoners involved in the arts and help them find their voices. Men like Opie, the gentleman robber; Razor, the roughneck who reads the New Yorker; charismatic Green Eyes, who really has blue eyes; Doo Wop, a singer who makes desserts out of prison food. Hummingbird in the Underworld is a book that takes readers on an unforgettable literary journey. It alternates between stories about making drama in prison and Tobola’s own story.

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