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Race to Incarcerate: A Graphic Retelling
     

Race to Incarcerate: A Graphic Retelling

by Marc Mauer, Sabrina Jones, Michelle Alexander (Foreword by)
 

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"Do not underestimate the power of the book you are holding in your hands."
—Michelle Alexander

More than 2 million people are now imprisoned in the United States, producing the highest rate of incarceration in the world. How did this happen? As the director of The Sentencing Project, Marc Mauer has long been one of the country’s foremost

Overview


"Do not underestimate the power of the book you are holding in your hands."
—Michelle Alexander

More than 2 million people are now imprisoned in the United States, producing the highest rate of incarceration in the world. How did this happen? As the director of The Sentencing Project, Marc Mauer has long been one of the country’s foremost experts on sentencing policy, race, and the criminal justice system. His book Race to Incarcerate has become the essential text for understanding the exponential growth of the U.S. prison system; Michelle Alexander, author of the bestselling The New Jim Crow, calls it "utterly indispensable." Now, Sabrina Jones, a member of the World War 3 Illustrated collective and an acclaimed author of politically engaged comics, has collaborated with Mauer to adapt and update the original book into a vivid and compelling comics narrative. Jones's dramatic artwork adds passion and compassion to the complex story of the penal system’s shift from rehabilitation to punishment and the ensuing four decades of prison expansion, its interplay with the devastating "War on Drugs," and its corrosive effect on generations of Americans.

With a preface by Mauer and a foreword by Alexander, Race to Incarcerate: A Graphic Retelling presents a compelling argument about mass incarceration’s tragic impact on communities of color—if current trends continue, one of every three black males and one of every six Latino males born today can expect to do time in prison. The race to incarcerate is not only a failed social policy, but also one that prevents a just, diverse society from flourishing.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Selected for the Young Adult Library Services Association's 2014 Great Graphic Novels for Teens List

"Jones's gritty illustrations punctuate Mauer's main points. The result is a searing indictment of divisive policies and empty rhetoric. Throughout the short narrative, it is obvious that Mauer and Jones still believe that change can prevail—and that if politicians would only remove the blinders and make much needed investments toward the future, they would see that continued incarceration does nothing to heal the demographic divide."
Shelf Awareness

"Its political and cultural immediacy makes this an excellent title for adults interested in social issues as well as for college students, teens, and tweens. It also serves as a bridge to Mauer’s original edition [first published in 1999], since skillful black-and-white visuals from Jones add clarity and vividness to complex issues."
Library Journal

Library Journal
Mauer (executive director, The Sentencing Project) penned two reference-heavy text editions of Race To Incarcerate. The work has become a classic for understanding the disparities and toxic effects of U.S. imprisonment practices since the 1970s. The authors explain that the number of prisoners and sentence lengths has greatly increased, yet imprisonment may be an unjust and ineffective remedy in many cases. Moreover, Mauer and Jones (Isadora Duncan; contributor to The Real Cost of Prisons and Studs Terkel's Working) continue, an "us vs. them" vision has contributed to racial inequalities throughout the law enforcement and correctional systems and current trends suggest a promising shift towards better sentencing plus increased programs in crime prevention and reentry counseling. This adaptation is designed for younger people and cuts to the main points, updating developments since 2006. VERDICT Its political and cultural immediacy makes this an excellent title for adults interested in social issues as well as for college students, teens, and tweens. It also serves as a bridge to Mauer's original, since skillful black-and-white visuals from Jones add clarity and vividness to complex issues. Back matter includes resources for donating books to prisoners and connecting with prisoner penpals.—M.C.
Kirkus Reviews
A graphic primer on the inequities of the American penal system, presumably aimed at students who have yet to form an opinion on the subject. The third iteration of this title is one that even author Mauer (Invisible Punishment, 2002) writes is "certainly not a version that I would ever have anticipated." It distills the influential 1999 text and subsequent update into a version that would have more emotional resonance, or, as the foreword by Michelle Alexander puts it, "would be engaging and accessible to young readers and people in all walks of life, not just policy wonks." As illustrated by Jones (Isadora Duncan: A Graphic Biography, 2008), the simplified condensation hits all the high points: the racial disparities faced by those in the judicial system (particularly in regard to drug cases), the growth of the prison industry, the price paid for the "War on Drugs," "Law and Order" and "Three Strikes and You're Out" campaigns, and the tension and conflict between deterrence (and punishment) and rehabilitation. Even comparatively liberal President Bill Clinton failed to reverse a trend in which more than two decades of spending "had bloated the prison system, while cuts to social programs had starved the inner cities." Where middle-class whites are often allowed to seek treatment for drug abuse, black users more often face prison, with mandated sentences. "Looking back on two centuries of prison in America, how little has changed," the text maintains. "The basic concept is caging humans." Though conservatives claim that the increase in incarceration has reduced crime, this manifesto argues that other factors have contributed to this decline. The graphic narrative builds the basic case for human values rather than draconian punishment, for investment in social services rather than the prison industry. A worthy tool for liberal educators, but it is not likely to change the minds of conservatives who feel that prisoners are getting what they deserve.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781595585417
Publisher:
New Press, The
Publication date:
04/02/2013
Pages:
128
Sales rank:
153,022
Product dimensions:
7.90(w) x 9.90(h) x 0.20(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author


Sabrina Jones is the author of Isadora Duncan: A Graphic Biography and a contributor to World War 3 Illustrated, Wobblies!, The Real Cost of Prisons, Studs Terkel’s Working (The New Press), FDR and the New Deal for Beginners, Yiddishkeit, and Radical Jesus. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. Marc Mauer is the executive director of The Sentencing Project in Washington, D.C. He is the author of Race to Incarcerate, a semifinalist for the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, and the co-editor, with Meda Chesney-Lind, of Invisible Punishment (both available from The New Press). He lives in the Washington, D.C., area. Michelle Alexander is the author of the New York Times bestseller The New Jim Crow.

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