The articles that comprise Prison Nation not only offer perspectives on prison life and the legal system, but make for a very in depth primer in American politics. A continuing thread through many of the works is an emotional and fact based analysis of how the U.S. legal system works against the poor and working classes, while generally ignoring or even rewarding the crimes of the upper classes and corporations, while corporate crime does far more economic and even physical damage (as in deaths due to workplace hazards and malpractice, for instance). George Winslow's article "Capital Crimes" lays out in plain terms the damage done by corporate crime, while giving the facts on how little our system does to stop it. Noam Chomsky's "Drug Policy as Social Control" is a very brief, but extremely inciteful look at the politics behind the "war on drugs". There are 3 essays contributed by Mumia Abu-Jamal, who is simply one of the most eloquent and powerful political writers of our day, free man or not. Other essays deal with the cultural effects and ethical implications of the "private prison" industry and the prison labor trade, and many other potent topics. Of course, many of us already know that around 85% of prisoners are locked up for non-violent offenses. Many of us are aware of police brutality in our own neighborhoods, of race and class profiling... but what do these things mean in the bigger picture of American ideology and U.S. culture. Prison Nation offers many valuable facts, insights and questions about these topics which are central to our society. Routledge has once again published another invaluable book that many publishers would not take a chance on. Their reputation in publishing is solid in many subjects and this book certainly lives up to their reputation. Highly recommended.
Paul Wright has been reporting on the way we treat our poverty-stricken and incarcerated criminal outcasts(the majority of whom are mentally ill)for over twenty years and every one of his books is essential reading for anyone who cares about human rights here in america, where we now have more people incarcerated than Russia or China, something of which we should be deeply ashamed. I've been to prison, I was there alongside Paul Wright and I wish more people would pay attention to the issues he high-lights, because they all point to a deep sickness in the social fabric of this country.
I'm a Law Student. What a enlightening book! Everyone should read this so there is a understanding of how our judicial system works, rather than some vague idea of how we would expect people in power to manage it. Its very accurate and very tragic. It should be included in the curriculum for criminal justice and Criminal law.