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Drawing on twenty-five years of teaching prison college and volunteer classes in eleven Michigan and California prisons, The Prisoners' World: Portraits of Convicts Caught in the Incarceration Binge strives to make the "prisoners' voice" come alive for regular college students.
This book starts off by tracing shifts in social definitions of criminality, and lays out the premises of the U.S. incarceration binge in the 1986 "war on drugs" and subsequent mandatory sentencing and policing. Later chapters discuss issues such as leaving home, cell life, correctional officers and treatment, the homosexual prisoner, and drugs. Furthermore, this book discusses the teachers' experiences via author narrative essays that draw the reader into prisoner-student and prison teacher interaction, and what it is like inside prison college classes where both young and older black prisoner-students describe growing up in the inner cities.
This book also draws on over eighty prisoner essays that provide insight on prisoner life and self-concept with insights on pathways to prison, drug selling, the inner city, and guns. There is also a strong focus on the "inside" experiences of entering prison and orientation, daily work routine, correctional officers, and surreptitious activities like cell cooking and contraband. These essays are capped by prisoner critiques of prison life from those still in the system.
The Prisoners' World serves as a successful supplemental book whose material has proven useful in undergraduate criminal justice classes. As college students themselves, on-campus students will identify with the prisoner-student voices who share their experiences but in a radically differentenvironment.
Part I Emergence of the Prisoners' World 1
1 Historical Periods of Prisoners' Worlds 5
2 Premises of the Incarceration Binge Culture 31
3 Prison Binge Growth Theory 51
Part II Life before Prison 79
4 Families and Home 81
5 Pathways to Prison 95
Part III Entering the Prisoners' World 125
6 Getting into "The System" 129
7 Cells 161
8 Daily Work Routine 175
9 Correctional Officers 183
Part IV Portraits of the Prison Self 195
10 Prisoner Free Time 197
11 The Homosexual Prisoner 219
12 Drugs and Contraband in Prison 231
Part V African Americans Caught in the Expanding Prison World 241
13 Michigan Reformatory: Young Blacks Caught in Detroit's Incarceration Binge Drug Sweeps, 1987-1994 247
14 Detroit's Inner City: Critique by Black Youth Prisoners (under Twenty-Five) at Michigan Reformatory 271
15 Inner City Experiences: Black Prisoners over Twenty-Five at Jackson State Prison, 1990-2000 283
16 Cocaine and Addictive Deadly Crack in Detroit's Inner City 291
17 Guns in the Inner City 297
Part VI The Future of the Prisoners' World 303
18 Prisoners' Views on System and Reentry 305
19 The End of the Incarceration Binge? 311
Websites and Organizations 323
About the Authors 353