Ironies of Imprisonment examines in-depth an array of problems confronting correctional programs and policies from the author’s singular and consistent critical viewpoint. The book challenges the prevailing logic of mass incarceration and traces the ironies of imprisonment to their root causes, manifesting in social, political, economic, and racial inequality. Unique and accessible, this book promises to stimulate spirited discussion and debate over the use of prisons.
New York State has the most stringent and unyielding drug laws in the country—just ask Terrence Stevens. Stevens, an African American with no previous drug convictions, was busted for possessing five ounces of cocaine. Some say that he was lucky to draw the minimum allowed under the so-called Rockefeller statute. Still, that meant 15 years to life; that sentence is the same punishment for murder and kidnapping and longer than the minimum terms for armed robbery, manslaughter, and rape. Due in large part to his medical condition, there are many who question the wisdom of incarcerating Stevens, including the judge who sentenced him and the prosecutor who tried him. Stevens developed muscular dystrophy while growing up in a housing project in East Harlem. At ...