The passing of Rubin Carter isn't surprising - he had been ill for a while. It's the end of an era though. A man who lived a life documented in song by Bob Dylan, in words by many including himself, and in film by Denzel Washington. His story was a terrible miscarriage of justice. Rather than lament his passing and move on, we are taking this opportunity to write about it, and to create a list of some of the books that we recommend. His story is one of the Prison Industrial Complex; of the hundreds of overwhelmingly Black and Indigenous men and women being used to feed the rapacious maw of the Prison System; of racism so prevalent we don't even see it. It's also the story of an indomitable spirit.
We have created a list of books which look at the story of Rubin Carter, as well as the issues it brings up.
Rest in Power Mr. Carter.
9781569765678 - The Sixteenth Round: From Number 1 Contender to Number 45472. Rubin Hurricane
CarterRubin "Hurricane" Carter was riding a wave of success. The survivor of a difficult youth, he rose to become a top contender for the middleweight boxing crown. But his career crashed to a halt on May 26, 1967, when he and another man were found guilty of the murder of three white people and sentenced to three consecutive life terms. Written from prison and first published in 1974, The Sixteenth Round chronicles Hurricane's journey from the ring to solitary confinement. The book was his cry for help to the public, an attempt to set the record straight and force a new trial. Bob Dylan wrote his classic anthem "Hurricane" about his struggle, and Muhammad Ali and thousands of others took up his cause. The power of Carter's voice, as well as his ironic humor, makes this an eloquent, soul-stirring account of a remarkable life.
9781613748152 - Eye of the Hurricane: My Path from Darkness to Freedom. Rubin Hurricane Carter, Ken Klonsky, Nelson Mandela
Eye of the Hurricane: My Path from Darkness to Freedom is a self-portrait of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, a twentieth-century icon and controversial victim of the U.S. justice system turned spokesperson for the wrongfully convicted. In this moving narrative Dr. Carter tells of all the "prisons" he has survived--from his childhood through his wrongful incarceration and after. A spiritual as well as a factual autobiography, Eye of the Hurricane explores Carter's personal philosophy, born of the unimaginable duress of wrongful imprisonment and conceived through his defiance of the brutal institution of prison and ten years of solitary confinement. His is not a comfortable story or a comfortable philosophy, but it offers hope for those who have none and serves as a call to action for those who abhor injustice.Eye of the Hurricane may well change the way we view crime and punishment in the twenty-first century.
9780140285390 - Lazarus and the Hurricane. Sam Chaiton, Terence Swinton
Immortalized in the Bob Dylan song "Hurricane Rubin Carter, a number one contender for the world middleweight boxing crown, became a civil rights cause célèbre in the mid-seventies when he was wrongfully convicted of a triple murder in New Jersey. After public outcry forced a retrial, Carter was the victim of a second travesty of justice, when he was reconvicted, and given the same triple-life sentence.
When Lesra Martin - a youth from the Brooklyn ghetto who moved to Toronto with a group of Canadians - learned of Carter's plight after reading the boxer's memoirs, The Sixteenth Round, he told his new family the tragic story. The group soon took up Carter's cause and worked tirelessly to win his freedom.
A riveting legal drama and a powerful story of hope and humanity, Lazarus and the Hurricane is the story of justice gone wrong and the incredible dedication needed to set it right.
9780679752554 - Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Michel Foucault:
In this brilliant work, the most influential philosopher since Sartre suggests that such vaunted reforms as the abolition of torture and the emergence of the modern penitentiary have merely shifted the focus of punishment from the prisoner's body to his soul.
9781595586438 - New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. Michelle Alexander, Cornel West
Once in a great while a book comes along that changes the way we see the world and helps to fuel a nationwide social movement. The New Jim Crow is such a book. Praised by Harvard Law professor Lani Guinier as "brave and bold," this book directly challenges the notion that the election of Barack Obama signals a new era of colorblindness. With dazzling candor, legal scholar Michelle Alexander argues that "we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it." By targeting black men through the War on Drugs and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control—relegating millions to a permanent second-class status—even as it formally adheres to the principle of colorblindness. In the words of Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, this book is a "call to action”
9781583225813 - Are Prisons Obsolete? Angela Y Davis
With her characteristic brilliance, grace and radical audacity, Angela Y. Davis has put the case for the latest abolition movement in American life: the abolition of the prison. As she quite correctly notes, American life is replete with abolition movements, and when they were engaged in these struggles, their chances of success seemed almost unthinkable. For generations of Americans, the abolition of slavery was sheerest illusion. Similarly,the entrenched system of racial segregation seemed to last forever, and generations lived in the midst of the practice, with few predicting its passage from custom. The brutal, exploitative (dare one say lucrative?) convict-lease system that succeeded formal slavery reaped millions to southern jurisdictions (and untold miseries for tens of thousands of men, and women). Few predicted its passing from the American penal landscape. Davis expertly argues how social movements transformed these social, political and cultural institutions, and made such practices untenable.
In Are Prisons Obsolete?, Professor Davis seeks to illustrate that the time for the prison is approaching an end. She argues forthrightly for "decarceration", and argues for the transformation of the society as a whole.
9781583226957 - Abolition Democracy: Beyond Empire, Prisons, and Torture. Angela Y Davis
Revelations about U.S policies and practices of torture and abuse have captured headlines ever since the breaking of the Abu Ghraib prison story in April 2004. Since then, a debate has raged regarding what is and what is not acceptable behavior for the world’s leading democracy. It is within this context that Angela Davis, one of America’s most remarkable political figures, gave a series of interviews to discuss resistance and law, institutional sexual coercion, politics and prison. Davis talks about her own incarceration, as well as her experiences as "enemy of the state," and about having been put on the FBI’s "most wanted" list. She talks about the crucial role that international activism played in her case and the case of many other political prisoners.
Throughout these interviews, Davis returns to her critique of a democracy that has been compromised by its racist origins and institutions. Discussing the most recent disclosures about the disavowed "chain of command," and the formal reports by the Red Cross and Human Rights Watch denouncing U.S. violation of human rights and the laws of war in Guantánamo, Afghanistan and Iraq, Davis focuses on the underpinnings of prison regimes in the United States
9780415635530 - Beyond the Prison Industrial Complex: Crime and Incarceration in the 21st Century. Kevin Wehr, Elyshia Aseltine
This short text, ideal for Social Problems and Criminal Justice courses, examines the American prison system, its conditions, and its impact on society. Wehr and Aseltine define the prison industrial complex and explain how the current prison system is a contemporary social problem. They conclude by using California as a case study, and propose alternatives and alterations to the prison system.
9780415950572 - Global Lockdown: Race, Gender, and the Prison-Industrial Complex. Julia Sudbury
Global Lockdown is the first book to apply a transnational feminist framework to the study of criminalization and imprisonment. The distinguished contributors to this collection offer a variety of perspectives, from former prisoners to advocates to scholars from around the world. The book is a must-read for anyone concerned by mass incarceration and the growth of the prison-industrial complex within and beyond U.S. borders, as well as those interested in globalization and resistance.
9780871548955 - Punishment and Inequality in America. Bruce Western
Over the last thirty years, the prison population in the United States has increased more than sevenfold to over two million people, including vastly disproportionate numbers of minorities and people with little education. For some racial and educational groups, incarceration has become a depressingly regular experience, and prison culture and influence pervade their communities. Almost 60 percent of black male high school drop-outs in their early thirties have spent time in prison. In Punishment and Inequality in America, sociologist Bruce Western explores the recent era of mass incarceration and the serious social and economic consequences it has wrought.Punishment and Inequality in America dispels many of the myths about the relationships among crime, imprisonment, and inequality. While many people support the increase in incarceration because of recent reductions in crime, Western shows that the decrease in crime rates in the 1990s was mostly fueled by growth in city police forces and the pacification of the drug trade. Getting "tough on crime" with longer sentences only explains about 10 percent of the fall in crime, but has come at a significant cost. Punishment and Inequality in America reveals a strong relationship between incarceration and severely dampened economic prospects for former inmates. Western finds that because of their involvement in the penal system, young black men hardly benefited from the economic boom of the 1990s. Those who spent time in prison had much lower wages and employment rates than did similar men without criminal records. The losses from mass incarceration spread to the social sphere as well, leaving one out of ten young black children with a father behind bars by the end of the 1990s, thereby helping perpetuate the damaging cycle of broken families, poverty, and crime.The recent explosion of imprisonment is exacting heavy costs on American society and exacerbating inequality. Whereas college or the military were once the formative institutions in young men’s lives, prison has increasingly usurped that role in many communities. Punishment and Inequality in America profiles how the growth in incarceration came about and the toll it is taking on the social and economic fabric of many American communities.
9781849350709 - Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex. Nat Smith, Eric A Stanley
Pathologized, terrorized, and confined, trans/gender non-conforming and queer folks have always struggled against the enormity of the prison industrial complex. The first collection of its kind, Eric A. Stanley and Nat Smith bring together current and former prisoners, activists, and academics to offer new ways for understanding how race, gender, ability, and sexuality are lived under the crushing weight of captivity. Through a politic of gender self-determination, this collection argues that trans/queer liberation and prison abolition must be grown together. From rioting against police violence and critiquing hate crimes legislation to prisoners demanding access to HIV medications, and far beyond, Captive Genders is a challenge for us all to join the struggle.
"An exciting assemblage of writings-analyses, manifestos, stories, interviews-that traverse the complicated entanglements of surveillance, policing, imprisonment, and the production of gender normativity... . [T]he contributors to this volume create new frameworks and new vocabularies that surely will have a transformative impact on the theories and practices of twenty-first century abolition."-Angela Y. Davis, professor emerita, University of California, Santa Cruz
"The purpose of prison abolition is to discover and promote the countless ways freedom and difference are mutually dependent. The contributors to Captive Genders brilliantly shatter the assumption that the antidote to danger is human sacrifice."-Ruth Wilson Gilmore, author of Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California
" Captive Genders is at once a scathing and necessary analysis of the prison industrial complex and a history of queer resistance to state tyranny. By queering a prison abolition analysis, Captive Genders moves us to imagine the impossible dream of liberation."-Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, author of So Many Ways to Sleep Badly
Eric A. Stanley is a radical queer activist, outlaw academic, and experimental filmmaker.
Nat Smith is a member of Trans/gender Variant in Prison Committee and is an organizer with Critical Resistance.
9781604860436 - The Prison-Industrial Complex & the Global Economy, 2nd Edition. Linda Evans, Eve Goldberg
The prison business in the US is not based on locking up, punishing, or rehabilitating dangerous hoodlums. Follow the money and find how the prison-industrial complex fits into the New World Order of free trade and imprisoned people, the war on drugs, and capital flight.
9780872865808 - The Meaning of Freedom: And Other Difficult Dialogues. Angela Y Davis, Robin D G Kelley
What is the meaning of freedom? Angela Y. Davis' life and work have been dedicated to examining this fundamental question and to ending all forms of oppression that deny people their political, cultural, and sexual freedom. In this collection of twelve searing, previously unpublished speeches, Davis confronts the interconnected issues of power, race, gender, class, incarceration, conservatism, and the ongoing need for social change in the United States. With her characteristic brilliance, historical insight, and penetrating analysis, Davis addresses examples of institutional injustice and explores the radical notion of freedom as a collective striving for real democracy-not a thing granted by the state, law, proclamation, or policy, but a participatory social process, rooted in difficult dialogues, that demands new ways of thinking and being. "It is not too much," writes Robin D.G. Kelly in the introduction, "to call her one of the world's leading philosophers of freedom." The Meaning of Freedom articulates a bold vision of the society we need to build and the path to get there. This is her only book of speeches and her first full-length book since Are Prisons Obsolete? (2003).
9780252077708 - Challenging the Prison-Industrial Complex: Activism, Arts, and Educational Alternatives. Stephen John Hartnett
Boldly and eloquently contributing to the argument against the prison system in the United States, these provocative essays offer an ideological and practical framework for empowering prisoners instead of incarcerating them. Experts and activists who have worked within and against the prison system join forces here to call attention to the debilitating effects of a punishment-driven society and offer clear-eyed alternatives that emphasize working directly with prisoners and their communities. Edited by Stephen John Hartnett, the volume offers rhetorical and political analyses of police culture, the so-called drug war, media coverage of crime stories, and the public-school-to-prison pipeline. The collection also includes case studies of successful prison arts and education programs in Michigan, California, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania that provide creative and intellectual resources typically denied to citizens living behind bars. Writings and artwork created by prisoners in such programs richly enhance the volume. Contributors are Buzz Alexander, Rose Braz, Travis L. Dixon, Garrett Albert Duncan, Stephen John Hartnett, Julilly Kohler-Hausmann, Daniel Mark Larson, Erica R. Meiners, Janie Paul, Lori Pompa, Jonathan Shailor, Robin Sohnen, and Myesha Williams.
9781604860597 - Maroon the Implacable: The Collected Writings of Russell Maroon Shoatz. Russell Maroon Shoatz, Quincy Saul, Fred Ho
During a lengthy incarceration spent mostly in solitary confinement, Russell Maroon Shoatz has developed into a prolific writer and powerful voice for the disenfranchised. This first published collection of his accumulated works showcases his sharp and profound understanding of the current historical moment, with clear proposals for how to move forward embracing new political concepts and practices. Informed by Shoatz’s experience as a leader in the Black Liberation Movement in Philadelphia, the pieces in this book put forth his fresh and self-critical retelling of the black liberation struggle in the United States and provide cutting-edge analysis of the prison-industrial complex. Innovative and revolutionary on multiple levels, the essays also discuss such varied topics as eco-socialism, matriarchy and eco-feminism, food security, prefiguration and the Occupy Wall Street movement. Including new essays written expressly for this volume, Shoatz’s unique perspective offers many practical and theoretical insights for today’s movements for social change.