Life on the Outside tells the story of Elaine Bartlett, who spent sixteen years in Bedford Hills prison for selling cocaine--a first offense--under New York's Rockefeller drug laws. The book opens on the morning of January 26, 2000, when Bartlett is set free and returns to New York City. At 42, she has virtually nothing: no money, no job, no real home.
All she does have is a large and troubled family, including four children, who live in a decrepit housing project on the Lower East Side. "I left one prison to come home to another," Elaine says. Over the next months, she clashes with her daughters, hunts for a job, visits her son and husband in prison, negotiates the rules of parole, and campaigns for the repeal of the laws that led to her long prison term.
Russell Simmons, founder of Def Jam Records, says: "At a time when the prison-industrial complex is destroying African American families and neighborhoods, Elaine Bartlett is more than a survivor: she is a heroine. The future of our communities depends on women like her."
Life on the Outside is a 2004 National Book Award Finalist for Nonfiction.
In fascinating detail, Ivan Solotaroff introduces us to the men who carry out executions. Although the emphasis is on the personal lives of these men and of those they have to put to death, The Last Face You'll Ever See also addresses some of the deeper issues of the death penalty and connects the veiled, elusive figure of the executioner to the vast majority of Americans who, since 1977, have claimed to support executions. Why do we do it? Or, more exactly, why do we want to?
The Last Face You'll Ever See is not about the polarizing issues of the death penalty -- it is a firsthand report about the culture of executions: the executioners, the death-row inmates, and everyone involved in the act. An engrossing, unsettling, and provocative book, this work will forever affect anyone who reads it.
Wilbert Rideau, an award-winning journalist who spent forty-four years in prison, delivers a remarkable memoir of crime, punishment, and ultimate triumph.After killing a bank teller in a moment of panic during a botched robbery, Wilbert Rideau was sentenced to death at the age of nineteen. He spent several years on death row at Angola before his sentence was commuted to life, where, as editor of the prison newsmagazine The Angolite, he undertook a mission to expose and reform Louisiana's iniquitous justice system from the inside. Vivid, incisive, and compassionate, this is a detailed account of prison life and a man who accepted responsibility for his actions and worked to redeem himself. It is a story about not giving up; finding love in unexpected places; the power of kindness; and the ability to do good, no matter where you are.
Torture is perhaps the most unequivocally banned practice in the world today. Yet recent photographs from Abu Ghraib substantiated claims that the United States and some of its allies are using methods of questioning relating to the war on terrorism that could be described as torture or, at the very least, as inhuman and degrading. In terror's wake, the use of such methods, at least under some conditions, has gained some prominent defenders, notably from within the White House. In this revised edition, Torture: A Collection brings together leading lawyers, political theorists, social scientists, and public intellectuals to debate the advisability of maintaining the absolute ban and to reflect on what it says about our societies if we do--or do not--adhere to it in all circumstances. New to this edition are essays by Charles Krauthammer and Andrew Sullivan on the adoption in 2005 of the McCain Amendment, which explicitly bars the use of torture and other cruel methods of interrogation.
With an outward gaze focused on a better future, Between Good and Ghetto reflects the social world of inner city African American girls and how they manage threats of personal violence.
Drawing on personal encounters, traditions of urban ethnography, Black feminist thought, gender studies, and feminist criminology, Nikki Jones gives readers a richly descriptive and compassionate account of how African American girls negotiate schools and neighborhoods governed by the so-called code of the street the form of street justice that governs violence in distressed urban areas. She reveals the multiple strategies they use to navigate interpersonal and gender-specific violence and how they reconcile the gendered dilemmas of their adolescence. Illuminating struggles for survival within this group, Between Good and Ghetto encourages others to move African American girls toward the center of discussions of the crisis in poor, urban neighborhoods.
Hundreds of thousands of the inmates who populate the nation's jails and prison systems today are identified as mentally ill. Many experts point to the deinstitutionalization of mental hospitals in the 1960s, which led to more patients living on their own, as the reason for this high rate of incarceration. But this explanation does not justify why our society has chosen to treat these people with punitive measures.
In Crime, Punishment, and Mental Illness, Patricia E. Erickson and Steven K. Erickson explore how societal beliefs about free will and moral responsibility have shaped current policies and they identify the differences among the goals, ethos, and actions of the legal and health care systems. Drawing on high-profile cases, the authors provide a critical analysis of topics, including legal standards for competency, insanity versus mental illness, sex offenders, psychologically disturbed juveniles, the injury and death rates of mentally ill prisoners due to the inappropriate use of force, the high level of suicide, and the release of mentally ill individuals from jails and prisons who have received little or no treatment.
"I loved this book. It's a story rich with humor, pathos, and redemption. What I did not expect from this memoir was the affection, compassion, and even reverence that Piper Kerman demonstrates for all the women she encountered while she was locked away in jail. I will never forget it."--Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love
"This book is impossible to put down because Kerman] could be you. Or your best friend. Or your daughter."--Los Angeles Times "Moving . . . transcends the memoir genre's usual self-centeredness to explore how human beings can always surprise you."--USA Today
"It's a compelling awakening, and a harrowing one--both for the reader and for Kerman."--Newsweek
1992 has been an explosive year for racial relations in the United States--from the reactions to the Rodney King verdict to debate about Malcolm X and the film portrayal of his role in American history. What relations do the recent events in Los Angeles have to the Watts Riots in 1965? Violence in the Black Imagination shows that these recent events force us to understand the history of racism in America and its legacy of antagonism and violence. Ronald T. Takaki presents three short novels of major African-American leaders in the nineteenth century: Frederick Douglass, the leading black abolitionist; Martin Delany, the father of black nationalism; and William Wells Brown, a pioneer of the black novel. The novels are accompanied by substantive essays which provide both biographical information on the author and explore the common theme of their work--the issue of black revolutionary violence in antebellum America. The work includes a new preface which examines the 1992 South Central Los Angeles racial explosion in relationship to Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and the 1965 Watts Riot.