23/7 by Keramet Reiter
Pelican Bay Prison and the Rise of Long-Term Solitary Confinement

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Reiter's work is a first-rate examination of the rise of supermaxes. But the stories of the real people held in supermaxes makes this book an important contribution to the public discourse on how we punish and why.
-NY Journal of Books

Synopsis

How America’s prisons turned a “brutal and inhumane” practice into standard procedure

Originally meant to be brief and exceptional, solitary confinement in U.S. prisons has become long-term and common. Prisoners spend twenty-three hours a day in featureless cells, with no visitors or human contact for years on end, and they are held entirely at administrators’ discretion. Keramet Reiter tells the history of one “supermax,” California’s Pelican Bay State Prison, whose extreme conditions recently sparked a statewide hunger strike by 30,000 prisoners. This book describes how Pelican Bay was created without legislative oversight, in fearful response to 1970s radicals; how easily prisoners slip into solitary; and the mental havoc and social costs of years and decades in isolation. The product of fifteen years of research in and about prisons, this book provides essential background to a subject now drawing national attention.
 

About Keramet Reiter

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Keramet Reiter, an assistant professor in the Department of Criminology, Law and Society and at the School of Law at the University of California, Irvine, has been an associate at Human Rights Watch and testified about the impacts of solitary confinement before state and federal legislators. She lives in Los Angeles, CA.
 
Published October 31, 2016 by Yale University Press. 312 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Crime, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction
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NY Journal of Books

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Reviewed by Christopher Zoukis on Nov 15 2016

Reiter's work is a first-rate examination of the rise of supermaxes. But the stories of the real people held in supermaxes makes this book an important contribution to the public discourse on how we punish and why.

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