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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.
yeah i worked as a ny state now retired from it the book is correct, so correct i remember the memo that was read to us from the state de-testing us from reading it. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Cynthia Kay Knuth
My father told me to get this book because he also worked in Sing Sing Prison. I'm glad I did. It's very informative and shocking as to what goes on behind prison doors.Published 1 month ago by kay
I'm thinking of going through the process of becoming NYS C.O and this book was a good look inside the jail before actually going there.Published 2 months ago by T.R Hector Bazemore
I really loved this book, but believe that the project should have been for a greater period of time and that Conover may have gone in with certain expectations. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Emily
Good book! Read for a class and glad I did. Starts boring but by the end you will be glad you read it.Published 2 months ago by Spencer Gliko
This is a fantastic book that caused me to rethink many of my preconceptions. One wonders what the author would have written if he'd been trained in Attica though.Published 2 months ago by 141xcg
Great book informational enjoyed especially since I work at Sing SingPublished 3 months ago by Carolyn Giribaldi