American Furies: Crime, Punishment, and Vengeance in the Age of Mass Imprisonment

By Sasha Abramsky | Go to book overview

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

American Furies is the culmination of nearly a decade of my reporting on criminal-justice issues, and on the interplay between notions of justice and broader political and cultural trends. Over these years, my work has been supported by newspaper, magazine, and publishing house editors; by foundations; and by think tanks interested in the ways in which mass incarceration has reshaped the American societal landscape. This book would certainly never have seen the light of day without their collective enthusiasm for the ideas and stories documented in it.

Particular thanks to The American Prospect, Legal Affairs, The Nation, and the Sacramento News & Review for granting me permission to adapt for inclusion in this book articles of mine that first appeared in those publications. Thanks also to Human Rights Watch for allowing me to quote from the report on mentally ill prisoners that I researched and cowrote for the organization. Similar thanks to the London Independent, The Atlantic Monthly, Mother Jones, City Limits, and Blackbook for assigning me stories the research for which subsequently made its way into my book files.

We re I to mention by name all of the people who have provided me with information, my acknowledgments would, quite literally, extend to the length of a chapter. I do, therefore, wish instead to proffer a collective expression of gratitude to the many hundreds of people, from prisoners to prison wardens, from prison abolitionists to victims'-rights advocates and elected politicians who have talked with me, written me letters, shared their ideas and their research, their experiences and their fears, during the course of my investigations.

Certain individuals, however, I owe a debt of gratitude of a different magnitude. Allen Beck, at the Bureau of Justice Statistics, has been more than patient in fielding my many requests for statistics and in generously referring me to sources of information. So too have Marc Mauer, at the Sentencing Project; my friend Jason Ziedenberg, of the Justice Policy Institute; and JoAnne Page, at the Fortune Society. David Garland, Francis Cullen, Nils Christie, Carla Crowder, Ralph Hendrix, Jennifer Trone and the folks at the American Correctional Association were magnificent in helping me set up lists of people to contact and in facilitating interviews with individuals from around the country and, ultimately, from points farther afield. Eyal Press, Adam Shatz,

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American Furies: Crime, Punishment, and Vengeance in the Age of Mass Imprisonment
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction - From Out of Tartarus ix
  • Part One - A Mindset Molded 1
  • Chapter 1 - The Holy Experiment 3
  • Chapter 2 - A Rising Tide of Violence 23
  • Chapter 3 - Using a Sledgehammer to Kill a Gnat 43
  • Chapter 4 - Victims, Fundamentalists, and Rant-Radio Hacks 59
  • Chapter 5 - Reductio Ad Absurdum 73
  • Part Two - Populating Bedlam 89
  • Chapter 6 - Open for Business 91
  • Chapter 7 - Till the End of Time 107
  • Chapter 8 - Storehouses of the Living Dead 129
  • Chapter 9 - Adult Time 153
  • Conclusion 169
  • Acknowledgments 179
  • Notes 181
  • Selected Bibliography 199
  • Index 207
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