This is a very empathetic commentary on how our prison system is harming people and communities. There are facts, but also a lot of anecdotes from theThis is a very empathetic commentary on how our prison system is harming people and communities. There are facts, but also a lot of anecdotes from the author -- she herself chronicles her sister in the system, as well as many prisoners she has come in contact with (mostly through penpalship).
People think we put bad apples in prison and everyone is better for it. But often they are not. Families lose sources of income and contact with their loved ones. And the system makes it so difficult to keep in touch with those in prison -- moving the person out-of-state, huge fees and limited time for phone calls, no human touch. These things not only harm and severe family ties, but the prisoner themself loses contact with society and those that cared about them inevitably move on.
It also becomes very apparent that the people this system harms the most are those that are poor and targeted by the police... people who can pay their fines, bails, better lawyers, etc. are less likely to get trapped in the system. As for police targeting, all one has to do is look at studies on Ferguson. One cannot deny that certain people are targeted and capitalized by the police any more (if they ever could).
The book provides some examples of things we could instead be doing instead of locking people up. A lot of it is healing and conflict resolution... and we cannot "restore" when things were not okay to begin with. One particular example that stood out to me was an Alaskan town changing the way they deal with minors. A teenage boy broke into someone's house... people got together and talked about the issue instead of prosecuting. The victim explained how unsafe and violated it made him and his wife feel, while the teenage boy was able to express his frustrations and problems -- as well as apologize and feel genuine remorse! This is something that isn't encouraged by our legal system -- nobody admits and apologizes unless they think it is in their client's best interest legally. In this case, the victim happened to be a sport's coach. He found out the teen had dropped out of school, but had an interest in sports. He decided what needed to happen was to get the boy enrolled in school again, and a part of his team.
One other thing that struck me is motherhood in prison. Being pregnant in the system is not rare. The women are typically induced for prison convenience, and then taken to a hospital where they are often shackled to the bed. The mother has a couple days with her baby, and then has to go back to prison without it. I cannot imagine how devastating and heart-breaking this must be.
Even if you find prison inevitable and unavoidable, I think this book will question a lot of your ideas about it. It is a very easy but emotional read. People need family and community, people need dignity and respect, and people need hope and healing....more
Maybe children get more of a kick out of this than adults? The idea is hilarious (interpreting "history" incredibly wrong) but none of it was subtle oMaybe children get more of a kick out of this than adults? The idea is hilarious (interpreting "history" incredibly wrong) but none of it was subtle or very clever....more
I bought this because I wanted to read something really fucked up and was then reminded of the world of bizarro fiction and extreme horror. And what sI bought this because I wanted to read something really fucked up and was then reminded of the world of bizarro fiction and extreme horror. And what sounds more twisted than pornography for sociopaths?
After getting the package I went to the library, got a couple other books, and I opened it there and then I felt pretty weird for even owning the book. But that is part of the appeal, as I find out, of this kind of thing. I wouldn't want to read it on the computer. I want to own the damned awful thing in all its physical, mutilated-woman-on-the-cover glory.
And then things get really weird when I decide to look up the guy who wrote it. Who is this Wrath James White guy anyway?
Ahhhhhhhhh. Okay. If I write a shitty review of his book maybe he'll punch me to death and feature a story of it in his next collection. No, but really. I found the image on his blog which features an interesting post on people who dismiss his genre. I thought: I'm not going to be one of those people but holy hell, I had a rough start with this collection.
The first story? Sorry, Mr. White, but I thought it pretty dumb and wondered why I was reading this awful collection which was bound to be a trainwreck, but, I don't know if I got into the rhythm and attitude or if the collection simply amped up in quality, but I ended up enjoying most of the rest of it.
Despite that, the book is too small. There are probably less than seventy pages of actual content and it is sandwiched between two poems that I didn't think were very great. But then again, could I survive 300 pages of this? Maybe you should write an endurance challenge. I am difficult to shock but this made me feel nauseated and fascinated and even laugh. Nicely done. I will try some more.
My favourite is the story about the lions and the one about the undead dog....more