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From Behind the Wall: Commentary on Crime,Punishment, Race

From Behind the Wall: Commentary on Crime,Punishment, Race
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$14.95 (11.21)
Intelligent and forceful!
“Written by a prison inmate, this collection of short essays on prisons and the larger society argues that the soaring rates of crime and incarceration have less to do with individual choice than with an American culture that in fact exerts great pressure to create crime–and the resulting punishment. His political views often sound radical, although by the end of a particular essay, Frazier’s ideas seem at least worthy of further consideration, if not outright adoption. The descriptions of prison life are intelligent and forceful. Frazier, the criminal, is sympathetic, never whining about his life and the decisions he’s made. In the end, a more positive book than one might expect.”–Booklist

Wise and fiercely poignant essays!
America is vitally concerned about crime. Since the early 1980s we have been assailed by images of devastated neighborhoods and destitute families, of urban gangs running amok and besieged police officers either pummeling or being pummeled by an ever-bolder criminal element. In reaction to our understandable concern, our politicians most often have dealt with the problem of crime in America by “getting tough” by stiffening sentences, expanding police forces, and building prisons. Yet a doubling of our prison population in the past decade has not brought with it a corresponding decline in the glut of violence we see on our streets and in the headlines.

At this point common sense tells us what our civic and national pride refuses to believe: that criminals are not simply social misfits who resist the civilizing effects of American culture; rather, American culture itself produces the conditions in which crime and violence flourish.

In this collection of wise and fiercely poignant essays, Mansfield B. Frazier plays the role of a latter-day Virgil, inviting us to descend with him into the modern American inferno. We learn about the wages of racism and its lingering effects within the very system of justice commissioned to eradicate it. And as we journey with Frazier into the innermost circle of America’s beleaguered underclass, we are invited to sojourn in the dismal land inhabited by those who are now part of our incarcerated sub-culture.

Our tour of our nation’s less hospitable regions ends with advice and admonitions from our guide; not content to leave us despairing, Frazier offers reasoned solutions to the problems accounting for our seemingly unstoppable spiral toward inner-city anarchy. To see hope restored to those corners of America where it has long been presumed extinct; to offer practical and potentially successful means of dealing with the problems of crime and drug use; and to encourage a rapprochement between alienated groups in American society: these are Mansfield Frazier’s ultimate ambitions in From Behind the Wall.

MANSFIELD B. FRAZIER has been arrested 15 times on felony charges and convicted 5 times. His sentences have been served throughout the United States. He is now a free man.

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Customer Reviews

  • Author: Njoki Mwangi
    I am very impressed by the insight the author has on the reality of this situation. Absolutely on mark: the society has created the very situation that breeds the alleged criminals. Well written.

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