Solitary -- Albert Woodfox

Staff Pick

Albert Woodfox was held in solitary confinement for more than 45 years, longer than any prisoner in our nation’s history. Framed for the murder of a white prison guard in 1972 in retaliation for his membership in the Black Panther Party, he was confined to a 6-by-9 foot cell 23 hours a day, and routinely subjected to abuse and injustice. He maintained his dignity and humanity by reading works of literature, philosophy, history, and law, transforming his cell into his own university. His extraordinary memoir chronicles his experiences with insight and wisdom, vividly exposing just how broken our criminal justice system is.

Solitary: A Biography (National Book Award Finalist; Pulitzer Prize Finalist) By Albert Woodfox Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802129086
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Grove Press - March 5th, 2019

American Prison -- Shane Bauer

Staff Pick

American Prison by Shane Bauer is a searing portrait of American prisons and the historic injustices of our system of incarceration. Bauer, a journalist who had been imprisoned in Iran, turned his attention to the privatization of American prisons while reporting for Mother Jones. Hired as a guard (they never checked his background) at a privately-run prison in Louisiana, he surreptitiously recorded his four-month-long experience. His book provides a vivid first-hand account of who he met and what he saw, interwoven with a very depressing critique of America’s long history of using convicts as forced labor for the profit of others. A tremendous book.

American Prison: A Reporter's Undercover Journey into the Business of Punishment By Shane Bauer Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735223585
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Penguin Press - September 18th, 2018

Punishment Without Crime -- Alexandra Natapoff

Staff Pick

 Each year some 13 million people are charged with such relatively petty offenses as jaywalking, trespassing, not buckling seat-belts, and possession of small amounts of marijuana. Most of those convicted for misdemeanors are poor and/or people of color and their cases are decided in minutes, with most defendants appearing in court without a lawyer and pleading guilty. They then find themselves in a spiral of fines, revoked drivers’ licenses, lost jobs, and criminal records. In Punishment Without Crime, Alexandra Natapoff, a law professor at the University of California, provides a detailed analysis of this vast misdemeanor system and makes a compelling case for how unjust and flawed the system is. She urges a closer look at this sector of the criminal justice system and proposes a number of needed reforms.

Punishment Without Crime: How Our Massive Misdemeanor System Traps the Innocent and Makes America More Unequal By Alexandra Natapoff Cover Image
ISBN: 9780465093793
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Basic Books - December 31st, 2018