Prisons Make Us Safer : And 20 Other Myths About Mass Incarceration
by Law, Victoria






"Utilizing narrative, statistics and history, this book identifies and dispels 21 popularly-held myths about mass incarceration"-





Victoria Law is a freelance journalist focusing on the intersections of incarceration, gender and resistance. She is the author of Resistance Behind Bars and the co-author of Prison By Any Other Name. Law has written about prisons and other forms of confinement for outlets including the New York Times, The Nation, Wired, and Bloomberg Businessweek. She is a co-founder of Books Through Bars-NYC, and long-time editor of the zine Tenacious: Art and Writings by Women in Prison. Connect with her at victorialaw.net or on Twitter @LVikkiml.





More than two million people are incarcerated in the U.S. While advocates for prison reform or abolition have gained momentum in recent years, persistent myths pervade national discussions of mass incarceration. This illuminating book from journalist Law (Prison by Any Other Name, 2020) addresses these myths directly. Law examines the false assumptions that shape how many people view the prison system, such as the common belief that prisons are dedicated to rehabilitation or the argument that private prison corporations have been primary drivers of mass incarceration. In addition to outlining the history of incarceration, she further explores racial discrimination, homophobia, and transphobia in policing and sentencing. In analyzing how to end mass incarceration, Law interrogates often-repeated solutions, such as that the U.S. could solve the crisis by emulating the Norwegian correctional system. Throughout each chapter, Law includes perspectives from people previously or currently imprisoned, which add depth to her well-researched analysis. Through thoughtful and clear prose, Law inspires readers to reconsider the role of punishment and incarceration in civil society. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.





More than two million people are incarcerated in the U.S. While advocates for prison reform or abolition have gained momentum in recent years, persistent myths pervade national discussions of mass incarceration. This illuminating book from journalist Law (Prison by Any Other Name, 2020) addresses these myths directly. Law examines the false assumptions that shape how many people view the prison system, such as the common belief that prisons are dedicated to rehabilitation or the argument that private prison corporations have been primary drivers of mass incarceration. In addition to outlining the history of incarceration, she further explores racial discrimination, homophobia, and transphobia in policing and sentencing. In analyzing how to end mass incarceration, Law interrogates often-repeated solutions, such as that the U.S. could solve the crisis by emulating the Norwegian correctional system. Throughout each chapter, Law includes perspectives from people previously or currently imprisoned, which add depth to her well-researched analysis. Through thoughtful and clear prose, Law inspires readers to reconsider the role of punishment and incarceration in civil society. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.





A critique of the many misconceptions about prisons in the U.S. In her cogent analysis, journalist and criminal justice activist Law dissects the myths that blur what she asserts is the true reality about mass incarceration in the U.S. The author attributes the 500% prison population explosion in recent decades to tougher criminal policies and increased public demand for harsher sentences. In a four-part study, the author scrutinizes the numerous gray areas regarding incarceration, incorporating a wealth of supporting research, startling statistical data, and illuminating interviews and anecdotal material. Law digs into the shady practices of private prison corporations and thoroughly debunks the myth that incarceration delivers much-needed social and mental health services to inmates. In fact, she writes, incarceration pulls energy and resources away from underfunded social services. The author explores the history of prisons as a form of racialized social control and counters theories that they protect people from high rates of crime. She also contradicts falsehoods regarding the effectiveness of prison sentences for sex offenders and lays bare the inequity of treatment involving women, LGBTQ+ people, and those in immigrant detention, groups that are commonly omitted from broader discussions about incarceration. Law concludes with arguments for the abolition of prisons and the efficacy of restorative justice, "a process that centers on the victim and their needs, not only allowing them to have a voice in the proceedings but also addressing the needs that they have." Though Law's arguments are well-documented and persuasive, the most effective parts of the narrative are the personal stories of inmates struggling with a wide range of significant issues. The author also pitches ideas for resolving many of the conundrums she discusses, and her knowledgeable text presents a good opportunity for healthy, productive debate among proponents and dissenters alike. Convincing, creatively effective arguments for the dismantling of mass incarceration. Copyright Kirkus 2021 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.





A critique of the many misconceptions about prisons in the U.S. In her cogent analysis, journalist and criminal justice activist Law dissects the myths that blur what she asserts is the true reality about mass incarceration in the U.S. The author attributes the 500% prison population explosion in recent decades to tougher criminal policies and increased public demand for harsher sentences. In a four-part study, the author scrutinizes the numerous gray areas regarding incarceration, incorporating a wealth of supporting research, startling statistical data, and illuminating interviews and anecdotal material. Law digs into the shady practices of private prison corporations and thoroughly debunks the myth that incarceration delivers much-needed social and mental health services to inmates. In fact, she writes, incarceration pulls energy and resources away from underfunded social services. The author explores the history of prisons as a form of racialized social control and counters theories that they protect people from high rates of crime. She also contradicts falsehoods regarding the effectiveness of prison sentences for sex offenders and lays bare the inequity of treatment involving women, LGBTQ+ people, and those in immigrant detention, groups that are commonly omitted from broader discussions about incarceration. Law concludes with arguments for the abolition of prisons and the efficacy of restorative justice, "a process that centers on the victim and their needs, not only allowing them to have a voice in the proceedings but also addressing the needs that they have." Though Law's arguments are well-documented and persuasive, the most effective parts of the narrative are the personal stories of inmates struggling with a wide range of significant issues. The author also pitches ideas for resolving many of the conundrums she discusses, and her knowledgeable text presents a good opportunity for healthy, productive debate among proponents and dissenters alike. Convincing, creatively effective arguments for the dismantling of mass incarceration. Copyright Kirkus 2021 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.






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