Review: Mass Incarceration on Trial

In her review of Mass Incarceration on Trial: A Remarkable Court Decision and the Future of Prisons in America by Jonathan Simon, Lauren-Brooke Eisen finds that one of the central themes of the book is “a concept that seems to have eluded our nation, as it has become commonplace to stuff prisoners in prisons that lack enough beds, proper health care, and even a modicum of dignity.” Few would consider a prison sentence a dignified experience, but for most, Mass Incarceration on Trial will shed light on exactly how un-dignified life can be for a modern American prisoner.

Simon discusses at length the conditions and suffering many inmates suffer on a daily basis, also discussing recent cases and decisions such as Brown v. Plata, the U.S. Supreme Court mandate that has greatly reduced California’s prison populations. Eisen summarizes, “while the book reads like an extension of a lengthy law review article at times, it is remarkable for its examination of important cases asserting violations of Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights for mentally ill prisoners.”

Valuable for both average citizens and those working for prison reform, Mass Incarceration on Trial has it all – from historical perspective to current laws and practices to thoughts of a brighter future for prisons, while always keeping an eye on the human element.

Read the full review at brennancenter.orgarrow1