A searing exposé of the effects of the mass incarceration crisis on families — including the 2.7 million American children who have a parent locked up
In The Shadow System, award-winning journalist Sylvia A. Harvey follows the fears, challenges, and small victories of three families struggling to live within the confines of a brutal system. In Florida, a young father tries to maintain a relationship with his daughter despite a sentence of life without parole. In Kentucky, where the opioid epidemic has led to the increased incarceration of women, many of whom are white, one mother fights for custody of her children. In Mississippi, a wife steels herself for her husband’s thirty-ninth year in prison and does her best to keep their sons close.
Through these stories, Harvey reveals a shadow system of laws and regulations enacted to dehumanize the incarcerated and profit off their families — from mandatory sentencing laws, to restrictions on prison visitation, to astronomical charges for brief phone calls.
The Shadow System is an eye-opening account of the way incarceration has impacted generations of American families; it delivers a galvanizing clarion call to fix this broken system.
"My brother was imprisoned for 30 years. I know firsthand just how devastating the impact of imprisonment is on a family. Sylvia A. Harvey's The Shadow System is an emotionally powerful and devastating analysis of how the prison system punishes and profits from families caught in its clutches. This urgent book makes us aware that some of the heaviest costs of incarceration are borne by children and families."—Michael Eric Dyson, New York Times bestselling author