Halfway Home: Race, Punishment, and the Afterlife of Mass Incarceration

Reuben Jonathan Miller. Little, Brown, $29 (352p) ISBN 978-0-316-45151-2
University of Chicago sociology professor Miller debuts with an intelligent and heartfelt study of how mass incarceration frays familial relationships, harms communities, and sets parolees up for failure. He notes that one in three Black men has a felony record, and that 45,000 state and federal laws “regulate the lives of the accused.” Drawing from his childhood in the South Side of Chicago, where almost everyone he knew had a brother, father, or cousin in juvenile detention or prison, Miller paints a detailed picture of life in poor Black neighborhoods, where “the vulnerability to surveillance and arrest, to frequent rounds and types of incarceration, extends far beyond jails, courts, and prison yards.” Extended interviews with inmates and former inmates reveal how difficult it is for people with criminal records to obtain housing, find work, get a place in a reentry program, and avoid being “flopped,” or sent back to prison for parole violations. Miller, whose father and younger brother served time in prison, also shares in intimate detail the stress of having a loved one in jail. Striking a unique balance between memoir and sociological treatise, this bracing account makes clear just how high the deck is stacked against the formerly incarcerated. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 11/02/2020
Release date: 02/02/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-5491-0812-9
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