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Are Prisons Obsolete? Uitgawe and Revised and Updated to Include New Develop and B Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
This thoroughly researched book by Angela Davis articulates everything I instinctively felt when I got a first hand glimpse of prison life. With the patience and restraint of a Saint, Angela Davis challenges thinking people to face the human rights catastrophe in our jails and prisons.
It is the authors hope that this book will encourage readers to question their own assumptions about prison. It is my hope that this book will be widely read by everyone involved in the field of education and politics. It should be on the recommended reading list of all high schools, colleges and universities.
Suza Francina, former Mayor, Ojai, California, and author, The New Yoga for People Over 50.
Once these "Black Codes" were in place, prisons in the South were rapidly filled with Blacks. Prior to the Civil War, prisoners in the South were overwhelmingly White. After Reconstruction, they were overwhelmingly Black.
These new prisoners were "leased" to White plantation owners, at a flat fee. With no capital invested in these new slaves, many were simply worked to death. The economic incentive to ensure that the prisons were full was inescapable.
In this short, but powerful, book, Angela Davis makes the case that this pattern of incarcerating Blacks, set during the immediate aftermath of the Civil War, carries through to the present. Today the economics of incarceration are more subtle. Money is not primarily made through the labor of prisoners (although that still happens). Today, the real money is made by the underwriters who sell the bonds to finance prison construction, the myriad of industries which supply the country's 2 million prisoners with everything from soap to light bulbs, and by rural America, where the last three decades of de-industrialization has left prison as one of the very few decent paying union jobs available to formerly blue collar workers.
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The division between prison reform and prison abolition is an artificial one that need not slow the progress of either prison reform or the development of abolitionist theory. I've heard Davis speak on the subject as well. She emphasizes the need to both insist that correctional institutions be reformed AND to acknowledge that there is no "just" way to incarcerate people at the rate that the US currently does.
Read this book to expand you field of vision about the alternatives to the current criminal justice system and to place these issues in historical context.
I recommend to people interested in an intro to contemporary prison issues Christian Parenti's book Lockdown America -- he is as angry as Davis, but his book provides more statistical and descriptive evidence than she does as to why you should be angry as well. Articles written by prisoners themselves are collected in the 1998 collection The Celling of America ed by Daniel Burton-Rose and 2003's Prison Nation ed by T. Herivel and P. Wright. (Note that Prison Nation includes articles written by non-prisoners as well.)
Prison activists and those who are currently reading into the american prison system should read Davis' book, but I urge those looking for an introduction not to start here.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book, fast read. I think this is a great starter book for folks who are on the edge about how they feel about the prison system. Read morePublished 24 days ago by Dusty Ginner
A must read book for anyone concerned with social justice, criminal justice reform and human rights.Published 1 month ago by Maisha2204
Book was in excellent condition upon arrival. And very nice book to read. Davis is a great author that brings to light many recurring issues.Published 1 month ago by Brooklyn Girl
I was taking a criminology class last quarter and this was one of the books required for the course. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Emilia
Davis has been making many of the arguments in this text for a long time, but they are clearly and cogently collected and articulated here. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Jason Knapp
A very quick read-- something you can finish in an afternoon-- that makes you really contemplate the current state of our prisons/jails. Read morePublished 4 months ago by ELN