Jones channels the tradition of liberal-Left political cartooning to give this graphic documentary a dynamic, woodcut-like look that galvanizes its adaptation of Mauer’s tract of the same name. Its subject is imprisonment in the U.S., especially, since the war on drugs was launched in the 1980s, the push to jail as many as possible (as it sometimes seems). Since the opening of the first “penitentiary” in 1829 and preceded by “getting tough on crime” policies, the war on drugs has reversed the emphasis on rehabilitation in U.S. prisons. While outlining how the drug war fueled a prison-construction boom, gave the U.S. by far the highest national rate of incarceration in the world, and ensured that more than half those imprisoned are poor blacks and Latinos, Mauer keeps the focus on the politics of crime, a game played with macho glee by both parties. Mauer’s original book has been criticized for lacking immediacy (too much passive voice, etc.), but with Jones’ inspirational help, this version has plenty of punch. Terrific for current-events teaching, too. --Ray Olson
Selected for the Young Adult Library Services Association's 2014 Great Graphic Novels for Teens List
"Jones's gritty illustrations punctuate Mauer's main points. The result is a searing indictment of divisive policies and empty rhetoric. Throughout the short narrative, it is obvious that Mauer and Jones still believe that change can prevailand that if politicians would only remove the blinders and make much needed investments toward the future, they would see that continued incarceration does nothing to heal the demographic divide."
"Its political and cultural immediacy makes this an excellent title for adults interested in social issues as well as for college students, teens, and tweens. It also serves as a bridge to Mauer’s original edition [first published in 1999], since skillful black-and-white visuals from Jones add clarity and vividness to complex issues."