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Locked down, locked out : why prison doesn't…
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Locked down, locked out : why prison doesn't work and how we can do better (edição 2014)

por Maya Schenwar

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Through the stories of prisoners and their families, including her own family's experiences, Maya 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. As she vividly depicts here, incarceration takes away the very things that might enable people to build better lives. But looking toward a future beyond imprisonment, Schenwar profiles community-based initiatives that successfully deal with problems-both individual harm and larger social wrongs-through connection rather than isolation, moving toward a safer, freer future for all of us.… (mais)
Membro:maryshepardson
Título:Locked down, locked out : why prison doesn't work and how we can do better
Autores:Maya Schenwar
Informação:San Francisco : Berrett-Koehler Publishers, BK Currents Books, [2014]
Colecções:A sua biblioteca
Avaliação:
Etiquetas:Prison, Basement Right-1

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Locked Down, Locked Out: Why Prison Doesn't Work and How We Can Do Better por Maya Schenwar

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Best for: People interested in what justice could look like.

In a nutshell: Author Maya Schenwar - whose sister has been in and out of prison - explores what is wrong with our current system, as well as alternatives.

Line that sticks with me: “Isolation does not ‘rehabilitate’ people. Disappearance does not deter harm. And prison does not keep us safe.”

Why I chose it: A political podcast I used to listen to interviewed the author. It struck both my husband and I so much that we accidentally bought two copies.

Review: I grew up assuming that if something bad happens, I should call the cops. Aside from the recognition that this is rooted deeply in the fact that police responding to any incident I report will see a white woman, and thus probably won’t shoot me, it is also based in the idea that justice means the ‘criminal’ is apprehended, tried, convicted, and sent away. This book asks those of us who hold that assumption to set it aside and imagine something else.

Ms. Schenwar is the editor of Truthout, and has written a lot about the prison-industrial complex. Part of her writing is informed by her personal experience of having a family member - her sister - in and out of prison and the broader criminal punishment system for many years. This fairly quick read (I took in all 200 pages in two days) is broken into two parts - the first looks at all the ways the criminal punishment system tears families and communities apart, and the second explores alternatives.

The basic premise is, I think, summed up in the line that stuck with me. Society sees individuals who harm others as needing to be taken out of society. Allegedly, this should ‘rehabilitate’ them, but it doesn’t. It doesn’t keep people who haven’t caused harm yet from harming others, and it isn’t making me any safer when I walk down the street. Instead, our current system is causing more harm by removing individuals and perpetuating even more harm. If the person who earns money fro the family goes to jail, what happens to her husband and children? If a child’s father is in prison and her mother is working multiple jobs to meet her needs, what options does the child have?

So much of our society is built on this very specific way of viewing “justice,” even though there’s not a lot out there to suggest that throwing people in prison gets justice for anyone. The language choices Ms. Schenwar makes throughout really got me thinking - she doesn’t talk about our current system as ‘criminal justice,’ it’s ‘criminal punishment.’ And instead of referring to crime, she talks about harm. The discussion around the latter point I found especially interesting.

The only reason this isn’t a five-star book for me is that, while the examples of alternatives are plentiful, Ms. Schenwar doesn’t, for me at least, offer up what this could look like on a large scale and what it would take to get there. But it’s a starting point for me, and one that will lead me to learn more about prison abolition and what I can do to support such movements. ( )
  ASKelmore | Jul 8, 2017 |
Maya Schenwar has written a compelling book that really needs to be read by everyone in the U.S. Our "justice" system has become a for-profit venue for retribution and revenge. There is little rehabilitation or actual justice. By locking millions of people in cages for an ever-growing variety of "crimes", we have effectively created a revolving door prison culture.

This book takes us inside and beyond those prison walls. Schenwar's writing style is conversational, making it an ideal read for people from any educational background. She takes us on a journey, using real and sometimes personal cases to spotlight the cracks, fissures, and major breaks in our prison system.

Even if you believe - or maybe especially if you believe - that at least most people in prison deserve to be there, you need to read this book. Schenwar points out how the prison culture destroys the inmates' humanity, how merely surviving inside those walls requires a shutdown of the very qualities we should be nurturing. The type of change we are cultivating inside prisons is not what we want to set loose on society when these inmates are released.

While the first half of this book focuses on the problems of prison, the second half is all about ways to fix the breaks. These are not idealistic, far-fetched dreams, but actual programs that work and should absolutely be implemented everywhere.

Not everyone in prison is a cold-blooded killer. In fact, most are not. Yet we treat them all equally, like rabid animals in a war zone. Isn't it time we regained our humanity? ( )
1 vote Darcia | Nov 6, 2014 |
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Through the stories of prisoners and their families, including her own family's experiences, Maya 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. As she vividly depicts here, incarceration takes away the very things that might enable people to build better lives. But looking toward a future beyond imprisonment, Schenwar profiles community-based initiatives that successfully deal with problems-both individual harm and larger social wrongs-through connection rather than isolation, moving toward a safer, freer future for all of us.

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