Inside Rikers by Jennifer Wynn
Stories from the World's Largest Penal Colony

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Rikers Island--just six miles from the Empire State Building--is one of the largest, most complex and most expensive penal institutions in the world, yet most New Yorkers couldn't find it on a map.

Jennifer Wynn, the director of the Fresh Start program at Rikers, takes readers into the jails and then back out-to the communities where her students were born and raised. She chronicles their journeys as they struggle to "go straight" and find respect in a city that fears and rejects them.
 Part memoir, part social commentary, Inside Rikers details the author's experiences on Rikers. Wynn offers a compelling portrait of its 18,000 inmates and how Rikers was transformed from one of the most violent jails into one of the safest.

About Jennifer Wynn

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Jennifer Wynn, director of the Prison Visiting Project for the Correctional Association of New York, teaches writing at Rikers and is editor of Rikers Review, a magazine written by and for inmates. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Published July 24, 2002 by St. Martin's Press. 240 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Crime. Non-fiction

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Most of the men in Rikers whom she profiles are either drug addicts or drug dealers, come from dysfunctional families in the city’s “dead zones,” are poorly educated, and have been in jail or prison before.

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Her deep commitment to viewing prisoners as the downtrodden among us is supported by the jail's own stark statistics, which indicate that most of the inmates are impoverished minority residents of the city's "dead zones," areas with the highest murder rates, and that many are stuck in the hard cy...

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