Prisons Inside the New America

From Vernooykill Creek to Abu Ghraib

By David Matlin
(North Atlantic Books, Paperback, 9781556435492, 143pp.)

Publication Date: April 2005

List Price: $14.95*
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Description

This powerful exposè reveals how America's ailing prison system undermines the public trust. For ten years, David Matlin taught at a maximum-security prison, where he confronted daily the nature of society, crime, and violence. Based on his experiences, this book examines the history of prisons in the United States and shows the terrible price a lethal combination of degradation, abuse, and corruption inflicts on inmates and society as a whole. Matlin argues that privatization of the prison industry has led to irreversible tragedy both at home and abroad, weakening our national identity and shattering public trust in the American justice system. Engulfing and enraging, the book challenges readers to take a long look at the culture of crime and punishment.




About the Author
David Matlin is a novelist, poet, and essayist. His collections of poetry and prose include the books CHINA BEACH, DRESSED IN PROTECTIVE FASHION, and A HALFMAN DREAMER. His first novel, How the Night is Divided, was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1993. His most recent book, Prisons: Inside the New America from Vernooykill Creek to Abu Ghraib, published by North Atlantic Books, is based on a ten-year experience teaching in one of the oldest Prison Education Programs in the nation in New York State. This extended essay is a discussion of the crisis of prisons, the invention of surplus populations, and how, in making prison our largest growth industry, we are mining our own civil disintegrations at unprecedented levels. David Matlin is an associate professor at San Diego State University and teaches in the MFA Creative Writing Program.


Praise For Prisons Inside the New America

"It's a really impressive piece of work, which captures with wrenching vividness the torture we inflict on others, and ultimately on ourselves."
-Noam Chomsky

"David Matlin's Prisons is an eloquent and powerful rumination on his experience teaching in prison. It goes beyond his personal story to put into sharp and disturbing perspective the larger problem, so cruelly handled in our society, of crime and punishment."
-Howard Zinn

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