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This is the world Conover enters when he, along with other new recruits, undergoes seven weeks of pseudomilitary preparation at the Albany Training Academy. Then it's off to Sing Sing for the daily grind of prison life. Conover correctly and vividly captures the essence of that life, its tedium interspersed with the adrenaline rush of an "incident" and the edge of fear that accompanies every action. He also details how the guards experience their own feelings of confinement, often at the hands of the inmates:
A consequence of putting men in cells and controlling their movements is that they can do almost nothing for themselves. For their various needs they are dependent on one person, their gallery officer. Instead of feeling like a big, tough guard, the gallery officer at the end of the day often feels like a waiter serving a hundred tables or like the mother of a nightmarishly large brood of sullen, dangerous, and demanding children. When grown men are infantilized, most don't take to it too nicely.And not taking to it nicely often involves violence. Indeed, the constant potential for violence on any scale makes even humdrum assignments dangerous. It's astonishing that more doesn't happen, given that the majority of the 1,800 inmates have been convicted of violent felonies: murder, manslaughter, rape, robbery, assault, kidnapping, burglary, arson. But beneath the simmering rage rests an unexpected sensitivity that Conover captures brilliantly. After encountering a Hispanic inmate with a tattoo of a heartbreaking passage from The Diary of Anne Frank on his back, he writes: "It was easier to stay incurious as an officer. Under the inmates' surface bluster, their cruelty and selfishness, was almost always something ineffably sad." Ultimately, the emphasis of Conover's work is on the toll prison exacts--most immediately on the jailed and their jailers, but also on a society that puts both there in increasing numbers. --Gwen Bloomsburg --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
I was so fascinated by this book that I read it in about a day.
Ted Conover's brilliantly insightful guide to a year in the life of a corrections officer at Sing Sing prison truly deserves the accolades it has received.
There are also correctional officers who think that they can write and publish less than interesting books as a result.
Gives an overview of a job that most people have no idea what it really is, but still misses on what Correction Officers have to deal with. Read morePublished 15 days ago by Dan M
Generally I love non-fiction books however this book focused more on the architecture of the building than it did about his experience "behind the scenes,"
It's Hard to follow... Read more
The author of this book wanted to write about life inside Sing Sing, but couldn't get permission or access to go inside. So, he applied and was hired to become a guard. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Judith
An excellent book about life in prison from a guard's perspective. Well worth reading. Conover goes the extra mile to write about prison life; he becomes a guard.Published 1 month ago by pat
This book was required by my Criminal Justice class and I did not think I would enjoy it but this book totally changed the way I look at the Criminal Justice system. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Ashley Branch
Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing by Ted Conover was an informative book that gave a brief look into the life of a corrections officer. Read morePublished 3 months ago by J.C.D.
Newjack is book that gives firsthand experience to a very stressful and draining job and lifestyle. I was recomended this book by a friend that is a C.O. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Melissa A Peterson