by Peter Wagner, April 23, 2004
Reuters’ journalist Alan Elsner’s new book about the criminal justice system, Gates of Injustice: The Crisis in America’s Prisons is a powerful examination of how our prison system grew out of control. The book combines first hand reporting with a detailed analysis of the larger trends that made the U.S. the world’s largest incarcerator without any gain in public safety.
Gates of Injustice is both an introduction to prisons and a detailed indictment of why they don’t work. The book contains a number of powerful (and true) facts that we hadn’t been aware of.
Near and dear to the hearts of Prison Policy Initiative staff, Elsner discusses in the chapter on rural prisons how prisoners are counted in the census and he calls for changing how the Census counts the incarcerated.
This timely book is a must read for everyone interesting in making the world a better — and safer — place.