From Publishers Weekly
In 1987, during the height of the Reagan administration's "Just say no" campaign, 21-year-old Santos received a 45-year sentence for his involvement in the distribution of large amounts of cocaine. Now, after nearly 20 years in jail, Santos has devoted himself to making the best out of his incarceration. Having received a B.A. and M.A. from accredited universities, he spends much of his free time reading and writing about the U.S. criminal system. Here, he uses his insider perspective to provide a blunt, often disturbing look at America's prison system. More anecdotal than personal or analytical, his account illustrates the presence of gangs, drugs, prostitution and rape in prison through a series of dramatized stories. Although the dialogue is at times overwrought, the stories themselves are shocking and illuminating. Together they paint a picture of prison culture and its dehumanizing effects on the people who live within it. The book also functions beyond its role as an exposé, effectively questioning the efficacy of modern prisons. Santos rejects the idea that the "correctional system" does much correcting, and provides repeated examples of the sense of hopelessness inmates suffer during their sentences. (Aug.)
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"More than just a seamy look at prison life. A chilling, timely portrayal."--New York Times Book Review
"Inside is actually two books. The red meat of the book is a collection of more than 100 prisoners' accounts, including every gruesome detail… But between shocking tales of inmate misbehavior are Santos' convincing theories about what it all means."--Sean Bosker, New York Post
"The tone and his focus on other inmates' experiences rather than his own lend the book weight and authenticity, opening a window onto the corrupt, violent and ultimately counter-productive society of American prisons."--Edward Humes, Los Angeles Times
"Shocking and illuminating." --Publishers Weekly
"Inside is not recommended for the faint at heart. Santos eloquently and engagingly captures the subculture of the prisoner. Inside is a must-read." --Sam Torres, Ph.D., Professor of Criminal Justice, California State University, Long Beach, and Senior U.S. Probation Officer (Ret.)