In Locked Down, Locked Out, journalist Maya Schenwar looks at how prison breaks apart families and communities, creating a rippling effect that touches every corner of our society. Through the stories of prisoners and their families, as well as her own family's experience of her sister's incarceration, Schenwar shows how the institution that locks up 2.3 million Americans—and decimates poor communities of color—is shredding the ties that, if nurtured, could foster real collective safety.
The destruction does not end upon exiting the prison walls: The 95 percent of prisoners who are released emerge with even fewer economic opportunities and fewer human connections on the outside. Locked Down, Locked Out shows how incarceration takes away the very things that might enable people to build better lives.
Looking toward a future beyond imprisonment, Schenwar profiles community-based initiatives that foster anti-racist, anti-classist, pro-humanity approaches to justice. These programs successfully deal with problems—both individual harm and larger social wrongs—through connection rather than isolation, moving toward a safer future for all of us.
Maya Schenwar is Truthout’s Editor-in-Chief. Her book, Locked Down, Locked Out: Why Prison Doesn’t Work and How We Can Do Better, will be out from Berrett-Koehler Publishers in October. Follow her on Twitter: @mayaschenwar.
Previously, she was a senior editor and reporter at Truthout, writing on US defense policy, the criminal justice system, campaign politics, and immigration reform. Prior to her work at Truthout, Maya was contributing editor at Punk Planet magazine. She has also written for The New York Times, The Guardian, In These Times, Ms. Magazine, AlterNet, Z Magazine, Bitch Magazine, Common Dreams, the New Jersey Star-Ledger and others. She also served as a publicity coordinator for Voices for Creative Nonviolence. Maya serves as Chair of the Media Consortium, Coordinating Committee, and is on the Board of Advisors at Waging Nonviolence.
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