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Lockdown America: Police and Prisons in the Age of Crisis
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Lockdown America: Police and Prisons in the Age of Crisis

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  249 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Why is criminal justice so central to American politics? Lockdown America notonly documents the horrors and absurdities of militarized policing,prisons, a fortified border, and the federalization of the war oncrime, it also explains the political and economic history behind themassive crackdown. This updated edition includes an afterword on the War on Terror, a meditation...more
Paperback, 258 pages
Published August 17th 2008 by Verso (first published 1999)
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I like this book because it paints a viable economic story behind the explosive growth of the prison system in the last 35 years. Parenti argues that neoliberal development (i.e. the global exportation of manufacturing labor to countries that are cheaper for corporations) has resulted in massive job loss amongst working class men, and particularly African American males, making them superfluous to the labor needs of a post-industrial society. This means that for the first time in US history, the...more
Grace M.
this shit will just get you so mad about the rising police state and the prison industrial complex. Read about the development of Zero Tolerance Policies, 3-strike laws, human warehousing, and the role of Corrections Officers Unions in policy puppetry. No wonder all the cashmoneys ain't going to the damn edumacashen system.
Jose Palafox
From my homie and comrade ;)

But seriously, an important work that should help us move away from some of the economism in some of the "Prison Industrial Complex/prison labor for profit" sensationalism in the movement. As Parenti convincingly demonstrates, the discourses and practices in the post-1960's clampdown in the U.S. is entangled within the larger crisis and contradiction of capitalism and not just 'specific corporations' in the PIC.
Daniel Burton-Rose
The most well-considered and lasting of the late '90s, early '00s prison movement books.
Parenti gives an expansive overview of the historical forces that have played a role in leading us to the mass incarceration crisis that we have today in "Lockdown America." I particularly appreciate the devotion of full chapters to discussion of the complexity of specific issues within the prison-industrial complex, such as segregated housing units, militaristic policing, and prison physical and sexual violence. In these chapters, Parenti illustrates the problematic nature of each issue in and...more
A great book that historicizes the rise of the prison industrial complex tracing how politicians created a crisis that fueled more and more policing (and the militarizing of police forces with the creation of SWAT teams and surveillance technology) which in turn helped boost the demand for more (ever increasingly private) prisons. The book was published in 1999 and while the information doesn't feel dated - in fact it seemed more relevant than ever - I couldn't help but wonder how the situation...more
Every cop is a murderer. All the prisons must burn.

If you don't already think so, this book probably won't convince you of that. But you'll sure be damned infuriated.

Parenti's thesis is right on: the expansion of prisons and police functions to manage the surplus population created by the capitalist crisis of the 1970's. Police and prisons use terror as a tool to control the poor who are of little use to capital.

I unfortunately read the first edition rather than the updated one, and some of the...more
Apr 03, 2011 Paul is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
A detailed account on why it is right and just to call police officers thugs and pigs. I have not finished it yet, but Parenti's thesis is this: There was a profit crisis at the end of sixties and in the beginning of the seventies. Corporations weren't sating their greed enough. Hence, the war on labor which resulted in a bunch of idle people. And this idle population needed to be controlled lest it engage in organized class warfare. Hence the need to militarize the police force. There's more to...more
Spicy T AKA Mr. Tea
One of the most cogent and accessible reads on the prison industrial complex that I've read to date. Parenti is awesome! This book discusses the rise of the current police state, the unending delegation of power to police, the horrors of prison, the reality behind the phrases "law and order" and "quality of life" among others, how capitalism needs a "criminal" class of people in order to keep functioning et al. I whipped through this book. It's a great resource and I highly recommend it.
i read this for a class called "race, ethnicity, and power in the united states" and was very pleased with the content. i think i read it all in three days because i had a paper to write but aside from my procrastination the detailed descriptions of INJUSTICE in the prison industrial complex was fascinating and captivating. i actually used the word "riveting" without knowing the new york times said that too, and the quote was right on the front cover.
Excellent historical analysis of the prison industrial complex. Parenti details the way the state and corporations have colluding in increasing criminalization and control of poor Black and Latino communities, plus the shift in management of prisons to the private sector.
Not a bad book. I had to read it for a criminology course, the author of this book was teaching. Found the first two chapters to be very hard to read, but past that the book was enjoyable and informative. The subject of the book itself was very harass and brutal.
If you love law enforcement and police stories, try reading this one, excellent book as i'm a huge fan of these sorts of books.
A.J. Jr.
An important book, especially for those who have never been on the inside of Lockdown America.
Sidik Fofana
SIX WORD REVIEW: I'm radical...but this, too radical?
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Christian Parenti is a contributing editor at The Nation, a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute, and a visiting scholar at the City University of New York. He has a Ph.D. in sociology from the London School of Economics. The author of Lockdown America, The Soft Cage, and The Freedom. Parenti has written for Fortune, The New York Times, Los AngelesTimes, Washington Post, Playbo...more
More about Christian Parenti...
Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence The Freedom: Shadows And Hallucinations in Occupied Iraq The Soft Cage: Surveillance in America, From Slavery to the War on Terror Taking Liberties: Prisons, Policing and Surveillance in an Age of Crisis At War With Asia: Essays on Indochina

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