Elizabeth Hinton has a produced a work that is exceedingly relevant to modern debates and useful not only to specialists but to anyone interested in the historical roots of controversial topics such as mass incarceration, the policing of urban communities, stop and frisk searches, civil asset forfeiture, and the militarisation of American police forces. Hinton makes the connections to current events explicit and displays a striking earnestness; she is not simply discussing abstract policies but also critiquing modern American society. Continue reading
The Louisiana State Penitentiary, commonly known as Angola, is the largest and oldest maximum-security prison in the United States. Situated on eighteen-thousand acres of floodplain on the banks of the Mississippi River, Angola houses approximately five-thousand men, nearly eighty percent of whom are African American and all of whom have been sentenced to over forty years in prison for mostly violent crimes. Around eighty-eight percent of Angola’s captives will die within the prison’s walls. Angola is located not only in the state with the highest incarceration rates and some of the harshest sentencing laws in the United States, but also in the nation that imprisons a higher percentage of its citizens than any country on earth.