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From Behind the Wall: Commentary on Crime,Punishment, Race Hardcover – April 28, 1998
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From Publishers Weekly
This collection of brief essays by a black man doing time for credit-card fraud at a minimum-security prison in Kentucky includes savvy cautionary observations. Frazier recognizes his own shortcomings?mainly, a lack of discipline?but realizes how prison has become inevitable for many blacks of the underclass. He proposes "Children's Camps" to mold ghetto kids into "responsible citizens" and thus break the cycle of teenage motherhood?"the engine which drives the twin runaway tains of poverty and violent crime." Similarly, he proposes "Childfare" to require pregnant women on welfare to receive proper prenatal care and attend childcare classes. He supports drug decriminalization, noting resonantly that there will be no serious debate on the topic until white youths are "mowed down" as black and Latino youths now are. Boot camps that teach discipline but don't educate young felons will never help, he adds. Too often, Frazier observes, conferences on crime ignore the views of criminals. This book argues that we should listen.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Written by a prison inmate, this collection of short essays on prisons and the larger society argues that the soaring rates of crime and incarceration have less to do with individual choice than with an American culture that in fact exerts great pressure to create crime--and the resulting punishment. His political views often sound radical, although by the end of a particular essay, Frazier's ideas seem at least worthy of further consideration, if not outright adoption. The descriptions of prison life are intelligent and forceful. Frazier, the criminal, is sympathetic, never whining about his life and the decisions he's made. In the end, a more positive book than one might expect. Brian McCombie
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