Not surprisingly, abhorrent conditions abounded for prisoners while a handful of people at the top of the scheme got rich. So a few savvy guys found a way to circumvent the 13th amendment to the constitution and essentially own large numbers of slaves throughout the late 19th and into the early 20th century. We can easily become exactly like our oppressors, Bauer said. American Prison illustrates how, with the advent of the steam engine in the South, cotton production revved up as well as the production of goods that used it, like cotton bagging and rope such that there simply were not enough inmates to do all the work. Though Bauer befriends some of his colleagues and sympathizes with their plight, the chronic dysfunction of their lives only adds to the prison's sense of chaos. The stories he tells are deeply sad and consistently infuriating.
Does their racist past mean they are currently a bad organization? It said that 'neither slavery nor involuntary servitude' shall exist in the United States 'except as punishment for a crime. Four months later, his employment came to an abrupt end. One other quick note: The changes that were noticed within Bauer during the four months that he worked in the prison were very interesting. He intertwined his own narrative with a history of prisons in the United States. This book takes you on a 4 month journey into a privately run for-profit prison, not state or federally run, but one ran by a private corporation. Private prisons became entrenched in the South as part of a systemic effort to keep the African-American labor force in place in the aftermath of slavery, and the echoes of these shameful origins are with us still.
American Prison is an enraging, necessary look at the private prison system, and a convincing clarion call for prison reform. An enraging, necessary look at the private prison system, and a convincing clarion call for prison reform. But every other chapter is on the history of slaves, freemen both white and black. Second, Bauer's diary-like recounting of daily life as a corrections officer in a private prison is a tough read. For, as he soon realized, we can't understand the cruelty of our current system and its place in the larger story of mass incarceration without understanding where it came from. An enraging, necessary look at the private prison system, and a convincing clarion call for prison reform. In American Prison, Bauer weaves a much deeper reckoning with his experiences together with a thoroughly researched history of for-profit prisons in America from their origins in the decades before the Civil War.
New York Times Book Review10 Best Books of 2018 A New York Times Notable Book A ground-breaking and brave inside reckoning with the nexus of prison and profit in America- in one Louisiana prison and over the course of our country's history. And yet I feel like recommending it to everyone. Bauer witnessed misogyny, racism, violence, and sexual harassment. Wages are low, staff is almost non-existent, rules and polices are either not followed or are taken to extreme. It seems as if the days of undercover reporting have passed, but Bauer gives us good reason to find the resources to continue the practice. An award-winning investigative journalist, he used his real name; there was no meaningful background check.
There are a host of factors; one is the legacy of a systemic effort to maintain a free, largely African American work force in place. Four months later, his employment came to an abrupt end. A potent, necessary broadside against incarceration in the U. Prior to the war, Bauer tells us, seven of the eight wealthiest states were south of the Mason-Dixon line and the majority of Southern convicts were white of course: most Southern black people were slaves. The modern part was two stars and very dull. I think this is a fascinating aspect of the book although certainly secondary to the subject being covered.
The sheer number of forehead-slapping quotes from Bauer's superiors and fellow guards alone are worth the price of admission. Some of the chapters detailing the history of private prisons included new information for me; if you've read Slavery by Another Name, The New Jim Crow, or seen 13th, a lot of it will be familiar but, importantly familiar. For, as he soon realized, we can't understand the cruelty of our current system and its place in the larger story of mass incarceration without understanding where it came from. Too often, we don't pay attention to the fact that as voters and citizens we do have a voice in prison reform. The private prison system is deliberately unaccountable to public scrutiny. There are times when Bauer can't decide whether he likes himself, which makes it difficult for me to decide whether I like him as a narrator. A book on American prisons should cover all types of prisons, all over the country, and in different periods of time.
His style of interspersing journal entries with histories of privatized prisons in America was effective, and he provided a lot of information on contracted convict labor, work farms, chain gangs, and similar elements that were critical to the Jim Crow South, but common in northern states as well. The book is also a fascinating look back at the history and development of our penal system — reflecting on how slavery transition aided national funding through a corrupt program, with some aspects still seen today. American Prison catalogues how the history of our government and our fellow citizens benefiting financially on the backs of the powerless finds its origin in pre-colonial days when British convicts were sent here to be used by tobacco planters, who took advantage of both their labor and their temporary status. The stories he tells are deeply sad and consistently infuriating. The practice bounces between private control and government control But the profit motivation is the goal in both cases. I have already recommended this book to two people.
The conditions under which convict miners, for example, worked and lived—forced to drink water from a river that was used upstream as their toilet, being housed adjacent to the coke ovens bilging gas, carbon, and soot—were only surpassed in horror by the experiences of the convicts leased to build the railroads. My feelings on this are definitely shaped by the fact that he clearly had an agenda when he started this project. If you liked Bauer's reporting in Mother Jones, you'll love this greatly expanded story about his time undercover at the privately-owned Winn Correctional Unit in Louisiana. But he had seen enough, and in short order he wrote an expose about his experiences that won a National Magazine Award and became the most-read feature in the history of the magazine Mother Jones. Honestly, I cannot believe this is permitted in our country. Still, there was much more that he needed to say.
An award-winning investigative journalist, he used his real name; there was no meaningful background check. He also shares a thoroughly researched history of the for-profit prisons that are present in America today, tracing back from their origins during the decades that led to the Civil War. A gripping indictment of a bad business. There is, first of all, the personal: author Shane Bauer writes of his reasons for going to prison undercover, including the preparation for it and the anxiety of his assignment as it happened. He also made several claims while comparing and contrasting public and private prison systems. Private prisons became entrenched in the South as part of a systemic effort to keep the African-American labor force in place in the aftermath of slavery, and the echoes of these shameful origins are with us still. After the Civil War the state's economy was in disarray, and cotton and sugar planters suddenly found themselves without hands they could force to work.
Sadly, and outside the purview of this book, Bauer believes the White Helmets myth in Syria lock, stock and barrel. The author took risks beyond measure in agreeing to this undercover reporting assignment, especially considering that he himself was taken prisoner in Iran. An award-winning investigative journalist, he used his real name; there was no meaningful background check. I do not think he is purposefully lying, but it is easy to leave out important information when you are taking a passionate stance against something. He did this with the intent of writing a story for Mother Jones magazine.