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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

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  383 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Lockdown America documents the horrors and absurdities of militarized policing, prisons, a fortified border, and the war on drugs. Its accessible and vivid prose makes clear the links between crime and politics in a period of gathering economic crisis.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published September 17th 2000 by Verso (first published 1999)
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Jul 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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.
Apr 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Benjamin Fasching-Gray
Sep 12, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: prison
If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, where does the road paved with pure evil lead?

There are more scholarly books out there that explain how Republicans with help from the Democrats cut social services, killed off the good paying jobs, let the police off the leash, blamed everything on drugs and then made sure everyone knew that actually meant people of color, and then built huge prisons so that we could all get raped and get AIDS and lose our minds and join racist gangs and then
Jeremy Citazen Serwer
Dec 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Excellent book outlining the Prison industrial complex. Exhaustive research and lots of fact based information. I wish Parenti would write a new chapter in this effort as much has changed since the early 2000's and much of his research dealt with the 1990's. I love that he tracks the economic flow of wealth from the late 60's and how that also plays a large roll in what is considered crime. If you want too understand a bit about why we have 2.3 million prisoners in the US and how the justice sys ...more
Daniel Burton-Rose
Nov 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: prisons
The most well-considered and lasting of the late '90s, early '00s prison movement books. ...more
Jan 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
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
Paul Rhodes
Apr 02, 2011 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. ...more
Apr 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Oct 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
May 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Aug 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: assigned
Great introduction to learning about the prison reform movement. Highly recommend.
Dec 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
Brutal and scary
Jul 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Sidik Fofana
SIX WORD REVIEW: I'm radical...but this, too radical? ...more
Sean Estelle
Jul 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don’t know which was more terrifying while reading this - the sheer brute violence of the statistics Parenti brings to vivid life over and over again; or the fact that the analysis is so good and so of the moment, despite the fact that the book was written nearly a quarter century ago. Either way, an absolute must read (with a serious set of caution signs attached for the descriptions of sexual violence and state brutality).

“Even if prison building created no Keynesian stimulus, and there were
Sep 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very interesting account of why Mass Incarceration began. He thoroughly evaluates why it serves the people in power by allowing them to keep people under control.
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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

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  Kerine Wint is a software engineering graduate with more love for books than for computers. As an avid reader, writer, and fan of all things...
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