Inside Knowledge is the first book to examine the American prison system through the eyes of those who are trapped within it. Drawing from the writings collected in the American Prison Writing Archive, Doran Larson deftly illustrates how mass incarceration does less to contain any harm perpetrated by convicted people than to spread and perpetuate harm among their families and communities.
Inside Knowledge makes a powerful argument that America’s prisons not only degrade and debilitate their wards but also defeat the prison’s cardinal missions of rehabilitation, containment, deterrence, and even meaningful retribution.
If prisons are places where convicted people are sent to learn a lesson, then imprisoned people are the ones who know just what American prisons actually teach. At once profound and devastating, Inside Knowledge is an invaluable resource for those interested in addressing mass incarceration in America.
"Inside Knowledge _is a necessity in the conversation on criminal justice reform. Larson builds a critical discourse rooted in the value of “witness” within the carceral state, underscoring the power of the hidden and hushed voice to deconstruct that which can be, at times, indestructible." —Randall Horton, American Book Award winning author of #289-128: Poems_
Doran Larson is Edward North Professor of Literature at Hamilton College. He is the author of Witness in the Era of Mass Incarceration, editor of _Fourth City: Essays from the Prison in America, _and founded and co-directs The American Prison Writing Archive (prisonwitness.org).
Vesla Mae Weaver (Ph.D., Harvard, Government, and Social Policy) is the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Sociology at Johns Hopkins University, a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and faculty affiliate of the Justice Collaboratory at Yale University. A scholar of American politics, she writes about race, power, and political life. Weaver has produced leading scholarship and pioneered concepts to understand the role of incarceration and policing in race-class subjugated communities and the development and consequences of coercive institutions in American democracy. Weaver’s books include Arresting Citizenship _and Creating a New Racial Order. Her next book, The State From Below: Racial Authoritarianism in US Democracy, amasses the_ most extensive collection of first-hand accounts of the police—by those who are policed—to date, using a new civic infrastructure called Portals. She co-directs the American Prison Writing Archive.