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Publisher's Summary

An accessible guide for activists, educators, and all who are interested in understanding how the prison system oppresses communities and harms individuals.

The United States incarcerates more of its residents than any other nation. Though home to five percent of the global population, the United States has nearly 25 percent of the world’s prisoners - a total of over two million people. This number continues to steadily rise. Over the past 40 years, the number of people behind bars in the United States has increased by 500 percent.

Journalist Victoria Law explains how racism and social control were the catalysts for mass incarceration and have continued to be its driving force: from the post-Civil War laws that states passed to imprison former slaves, to the laws passed under the “War Against Drugs” campaign that disproportionately imprison Black people. She breaks down these complicated issues into four main parts: 

1. The rise and cause of mass incarceration 

2. Myths about prison 

3. Misconceptions about incarcerated people 

4. How to end mass incarceration

Through carefully conducted research and interviews with incarcerated people, Law identifies the 21 key myths that propel and maintain mass incarceration, including: 

  • The system is broken and we simply need some reforms to fix it 
  • Incarceration is necessary to keep our society safe 
  • Prison is an effective way to get people into drug treatment 
  • Private prison corporations drive mass incarceration

“Prisons Make Us Safer” is a necessary guide for all who are interested in learning about the cause and rise of mass incarceration and how we can dismantle it.

©2021 Victoria Law (P)2021 Beacon Press

Critic Reviews

“Convincing, creatively effective arguments for the dismantling of mass incarceration.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Law has offered us a very important tool. Her careful and accessible analysis, her feminist approach, and her methodical demystification of widely held views about incarceration enable precisely the kind of understanding we need at this moment.” (Angela Y. Davis, Distinguished Professor Emerita, University of California, Santa Cruz)

“Law brilliantly uses facts, figures, and moving and enraging stories from incarcerated people to bring to light important and misunderstood facets of our singularly massive criminal legal system.... An essential book that demands attention and action.” (Piper Kerman, author of Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison)

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Leftist propaganda

Try to make a case for no prisons and makes criminals look like heroes
Never addressed the victims of crime and the impact on law abiding citizens.
Trash.