By Sasha Abramsky
During this dramatic exposé of U.S. penitentiaries and the groups round them, Sasha Abramsky unearths that prisons have dumped their age-old aim of rehabilitation, frequently for political purposes. the recent “ideal,” unknown to such a lot americans, is a punitive mandate marked by means of a force towards vengeance.
Surveying this nation of affairs—life sentences for nonviolent crimes, appalling stipulations, the expansion of non-public prisons, the therapy of juveniles—Abramsky asks: Does the vengeful impulse ennoble our tradition or demean it? What can turn into of people that are quarantined for years in a violent culture? California’s 3 moves legislation typifies the politics that make the most the grief of victims’ households and our fears of violent crime. Brilliantly researched and compellingly instructed, American Furies exhibits that the ethos of “lock ’em up and throw away the key” has huge, immense social expenses.
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Extra resources for American Furies: Crime, Punishment, and Vengeance in the Age of Mass Imprisonment
Several levels of cells were ranged along the circumference, facing in toward the central tower. Even the door of the tower had windows; for the occupant of this tower, there were literally no blind spots. On top of this, the philosopher began laying on additional details: systems of pipes, so that verbal commands could be transmitted into each and every cell from the central observatory; complex screening systems so that inmates could never see other inmates nor could they see the guards; elaborate chapels that seated each inmate in a miniature prayer cell so that preachers could communicate with their congregants without ever allowing them to see one another.
S. coalition oversight in 2003. That way, the overseers reasoned, the captives, depersonalized by physical anonymity, their names replaced by numbers, couldn’t get to know one another. This would both limit their ability to conspire against administrators and force a greater degree of self-reﬂection. So obsessed were the prison’s designers with the theory of silence that they attached individual exercise yards to the back of each cell, so that each inmate could get about an hour of fresh air each day without speaking to his fellow prisoners.
America’s fascination with the science of incarceration began three hundred and thirty miles east of Waynesburg, in the city of Philadelphia. There, the Eastern State Penitentiary still towers over Fairmount Avenue, its massive stone perimeter a reminder of the historic origins of prisons such as SCI Greene. 6 AMERICAN FURIES The building presents at least as imposing a vision as that of the West Virginia State Penitentiary at Moundsville. A vast stone construction, its impenetrable front stretching along several city blocks, its entrance bookmarked by gothic, castellated towers, Eastern State was, at the time of its opening in 1829, the most state-of-the-art building in America.
American Furies: Crime, Punishment, and Vengeance in the Age of Mass Imprisonment by Sasha Abramsky