AUDIO

American Prison: A Reporter's Undercover Journey into the Business of Punishment

9 CDs. Books on Tape. Sept. 2018. 10:30 hrs. ISBN 9780525528791. $40. digital download. SOC SCI
COPY ISBN
Bauer (A Sliver of Light) spent four months in 2014 as a corrections officer for a private prison in small-town Louisiana. His real job, though, was as an investigative journalist for Mother Jones. He applied, interviewed, and was hired without a comprehensive background check even though he used his real name. During training and his subsequent work with the prisoners, he found himself getting more brutal and losing sense of his humanity. Alternate chapters cover his time as an officer and the historical evolution of for-profit prisons in the United States. These chapters look back to the English prisoners sent to America as indentured servants, pre-Civil War laws and punishment, the development of penitentiaries, and ultimately the privately run prisons of today. Narrator James Fouhey performs excellently, covering Bauer's emotional range from sympathy to rage. The author's perspective is further informed by the two years he spent as a prisoner in Iran after he wandered too close to their border.
VERDICT Those who relish learning about the American prison system, especially private prisons, will appreciate this audiobook. Fans of investigative journalism and embedded explorations in dangerous occupations will find this valuable. ["This informative book will surely find many passionate readers": LJ 10/15/18 review of the Penguin hc.]

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