Censorship to Hide Crimes Against Humanity in USA


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Locked Down, Locked Out, by Maya Schenwar

Through the stories of prisoners and their families, including her own family’s experiences, Maya Schenwar shows how the institution that locks up 2.3 million Americans and decimates poor communities of color is shredding the ties that, if nurtured, could foster real collective safety. As she vividly depicts here, incarceration takes away the very things that might enable people to build better lives. But looking toward a future beyond imprisonment, Schenwar profiles community-based initiatives that successfully deal with problems—both individual harm and larger social wrongs—through connection rather than isolation, moving toward a safer, freer future for all of us.

Maya Schenwar is Truthout's editor-in-chief and the author of Locked Down, Locked Out: Why Prison Doesn’t Work and How We Can Do Better.

Previously, she was a senior editor and reporter at Truthout, writing on U.S. defense policy, the criminal justice system, campaign politics, and immigration reform. Prior to her work at Truthout, Maya was contributing editor at Punk Planet magazine. She has also written for the Guardian, In These Times Magazine, AlterNet, Z Magazine, Bitch Magazine, Common Dreams, the New Jersey Star-Ledger, and others. She also served as a publicity coordinator for Voices for Creative Nonviolence. Maya is on the Board of Advisors at Waging Nonviolence. An impressive list of Schenwar's articles is available at this link:

This writer is impressed with the level of understanding about the prison system that is continually demonstrated by Maya Schenwar and Truthout writers. Privatized prisons are businesses. Like any business, they are concerned with having a steady flow of fresh commodities, and that drives up America's incarceration rate. Education and rehabilitation of inmates, counseling for drug abusers, resuming Medicaid for inpatients in mental hospitals, and funding assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) programs for mentally ill Americans would significantly reduce America's 67.5 percent recidivism rate. These and other prison reform methods are largely ignored by prison officials as well as prison investors, many of whom work in local and federal government offices (a conflict of interest).

Businesses prioritize keeping expenditures low, which negatively impacts inmates' access to nutritious and adequate meals and medical care. Some prisons hire fewer guards than are needed to allow inmates in solitary confinement to actually have their one-hour of daily exercise outside their cells. In fact, some inmates are kept in their tiny cells for weeks and even months at a time, increasing inmates' torture to guarantee that many who arrived in prison sane people will leave with some level of brain damage. A recent Truthout article is entitled "For-Profit Prisons: Eight Statistics That Show the Problems." It can be accessed by using the link below.

Maya Schenwar's "Locked Down, Locked Out" is recommended for advocates against mass incarceration and inhumane prison conditions. Her research and interviews with prisoners and their families as well as her own family's experiences uniquely qualify Schenwar to explain "why prisons don't work" and advise Americans on "how we can do better" without reducing community safety. Please hear our interview on "Human Rights Demand" Blogtalkradio channel with Maya Schenwar. It is 2 hours and 15 minutes long and worth every minute! 


“Maya Schenwar's stories about prisoners, their families (including her own), and the thoroughly broken punishment system are rescued from any pessimism such narratives might inspire by the author's brilliant juxtaposition of abolitionist imaginaries and radical political practices.”
—Angela Y. Davis, author of "Are Prisons Obsolete?"

“This book has the power to transform hearts and minds, opening us to new ways of imagining what justice can mean for individuals, families, communities, and our nation as a whole. Maya Schenwar’s personal, openhearted sharing of her own family’s story, together with many other stories and real-world experiments with transformative justice, makes this book compelling, highly persuasive, and difficult to put down. I turned the last page feeling nothing less than inspired.”
—Michelle Alexander, author of "The New Jim Crow"

“A tour de force! Schenwar has written a must-read, damning account of the twisted philosophy and practice of incarceration …Until society changes its approach toward its ‘offenders,’ until we leaven punishment with forgiveness, reconciliation, and restorative justice, we are all guilty as charged.”
—Dennis J. Kucinich, US Congressman (1997–2013) and presidential candidate

“Locked Down, Locked Out paints a searing portrait of the real-life human toll of mass incarceration, both on prisoners and on their families, and—equally compellingly—provides hope that collectively we can create a more humane world freed of prisons. Read this deeply personal and political call to end the shameful inhumanity of our prison nation.”
—Dorothy Roberts, author of "Shattered Bonds and Killing the Black Body"


Our featured book for December was "Judging Me", by Mary Elizabeth Bullock, a retired judge. In January, we featured "Getting Away with Murder," by George Mallinckrodt, a former prison psychoanalyst who is outraged by the negligence, torture, and unrequited murders in Florida prisons. We hope you enjoy "Slaying the Dragon" by Dave Koch, which was also featured in January. Koch is an ex-felon who launched an impressive aviation career after prison release. He later distinguished himself a successful businessman and now helps ex-offenders to reach the ivory towers in their own lives. His advice can apply to everybody who has obstacles to overcome before they experience success.

To suggest a book and author, please contact MaryLovesJustice, director of "Human Rights Demand" channel at Blogtalkradio, Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill, the Human Rights for Prisoners March, and the Davis-MacPhail Truth Committee (an anti-DP org).
Website: Wrongful Death of Larry Neal
Email address MaryLovesJustice@gmail.com
Phone numbers (678)531.0262 or (571)335-1741
(Please check this article against its copy in comments. Thanks.)