Incarceration Nations: A Journey to Justice in Prisons Around the World by Baz DreisingerBaz Dreisinger travels behind bars in nine countries to rethink the state of justice in a global context
Beginning in Africa and ending in Europe, Incarceration Nations is a first-person odyssey through the prison systems of the world. Professor, journalist, and founder of the Prison-to-College-Pipeline, Dreisinger looks into the human stories of incarcerated men and women and those who imprison them, creating a jarring, poignant view of a world to which most are denied access, and a rethinking of one of America’s most far-reaching global exports: the modern prison complex.
From serving as a restorative justice facilitator in a notorious South African prison and working with genocide survivors in Rwanda, to launching a creative writing class in an overcrowded Ugandan prison and coordinating a drama workshop for women prisoners in Thailand, Dreisinger examines the world behind bars with equal parts empathy and intellect. She journeys to Jamaica to visit a prison music program, to Singapore to learn about approaches to prisoner reentry, to Australia to grapple with the bottom line of private prisons, to a federal supermax in Brazil to confront the horrors of solitary confinement, and finally to the so-called model prisons of Norway. Incarceration Nations concludes with climactic lessons about the past, present, and future of justice.
'Incarceration Nations' Suggests Americans Reconsider Their Prisons
When John Jay College of Criminal Justice Professor Baz Dreisinger began her two-year pilgrimage to prisons around the world, she probably told herself she was seeking the best practices in each penal system to help her understand what might be done to reform the mass-incarceration-driven justice system that prevails in the United States. It certainly seemed to come as a surprise when she concluded that reform may not be the answer at all — reform is too insufficient a concept, and wholesale replacement should be the goal. That was not the only surprise Dreisinger confronted in her stirring hybrid of memoir and scholarly treatise, which never fails to portray the essential humanity of prisoners, victims and ordinary citizens in exquisite prose. A greater surprise: such compassion is even extended to the tens of thousands who took part in the Hutu genocide of nearly a million Tutsis. South Africa yielded another surprise with its emphasis on truth and reconciliation following the end of apartheid. Singapore showed her that a PR campaign can help prisoners be fully accepted back into society upon their release.
It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. Stepping into the conversation with her new book, Incarceration Nations , author and activist Baz Dreisenger takes the debate the a step further, analyzing the philosophies and legislation behind the various prison and judicial systems across the world. From Uganda and Jamaica to Singapore and Norway, Dreisinger uncovers and deconstructs both national and popular views on criminal justice and incarceration. In doing so, she makes the case for why it may be beneficial to both prisoners and victims to reexamine the way we view criminal justice. The book opens with an overview of the origins of the current prison system, particularly the philosophy behind the modern structures that have led to modern mass incarceration. Explaining the transition from the old-age dungeons and holding pens to the modern structural behemoths we know and seemingly love, Dreisenger explains the current design as a product of an increasing industrialized and capitalized society:. Dreisenger highlights the many ways in which prisons have played a part in economic exploitation: from providing free labor to serving as a source of income for private prison companies.
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