BOOK REVIEW: Captives by Jarrod Shanahan

60801761._SY475_Title: Captives: How Rikers Island Took New York City Hostage

Author: Jarrod Shanahan

Audiobook Length: 13 hours

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Genre: Nonfiction, History

Read Start Date: May 8, 2022

Read Finish Date: May 12, 2022

Brief Summary of the Plot from Goodreads: Captives combines a thrilling account of Rikers Island’s descent into infamy with a dramatic retelling of the last seventy years of New York politics from the vantage point of the city’s jails. It is a story of a crowded field of contending powers—city bureaucrats and unions, black power activists and guards, crooked cops and elected leaders—struggling for power and influence, a tale culminating in mass incarceration and the triumph of neoliberalism. It is a riveting chronicle of how the Rikers Island of today—and the social order it represents—came to be.

Conjuring sweeping cinematic vistas, Captives records how the tempo of history was set by bloody and bruising clashes between guards and prisoners, between rank-and-filers and union bosses, between reformers and reactionaries, and between police officers and virtually everyone else. Written by a one-time Rikers prisoner, Captives draws on extensive archival research, decades of journalism, interviews, prisoner testimonials, and firsthand experience to deliver an urgent intervention into our national discussion about the future of mass incarceration and the call to abolish prisons. The contentious debate about the future of the Rikers Island penal colony rolls onward, and Captives is a must-read for anyone interested in the island and what it represents.

My Review: I received this audiobook from Netgalley as an ARC in exchange for an honest review. In general I am interested in the history and present day situation surrounding prisons, not only regarding the theory behind incarceration, but also the implementation.

The author, having spent some time in prison himself, brings a unique perspective to the history of Rikers Island, which probably another author on the same subject would have lacked.

I found the book to be well researched, highly informative, and at times infuriating — the prison policies of the US are just atrocious!

I think that this is an important book as it shows the inequality of a system that was not built for “rehabilitation”, despite everyone’s protestations to the contrary. That most of the prison population is not white, is not an accident and is a symptom of the racism which runs rampant in America.

I highly recommend this book, even for people who are not usually into nonfiction or history books.

10 Book Reviews

Professional Reader

Reviews Published

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

TV SHOW REVIEW: Girls Incarcerated, Season 1

MV5BNzQ0MTA2YTgtNTE2YS00NDg2LTk0NDYtMWQ2MGYyNzEyYzgzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTMxODk2OTU@._V1_UY268_CR4,0,182,268_AL_Title: Girls Incarcerated: Young and Locked Up

Year: 2018

Genre: Documentary

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Platform: Netflix

Date Watched: July 3, 2019 to July 5, 2019

Brief Summary of Plot from IMDb: A documentary show about troubled girls who are are juvenile delinquents in Madison Juvenile Center

Episode Name Episode # Date Watched
Chapter 1: The Girls of Madison 1 3-Jul-19
Chapter 2: Until We Meet Again 2 3-Jul-19
Chapter 3: Mean Girls 3 3-Jul-19
Chapter 4: Where the Story Begins 4 4-Jul-19
Chapter 5: Love in Lockup 5 4-Jul-19
Chapter 6: High Expectations 6 5-Jul-19
Chapter 7: My Life Story 7 5-Jul-19
Chapter 8: Moving Mountains 8 5-Jul-19

My Review: In the first episode we meet the girls of Madison, a juvenile detention center in Indiana. They are not sentenced to serve a particular time, but are rather sentenced to complete a program, which includes high school classes. Each girl is different, but seems to come from the same background: broken homes, addicted or incarcerated parents, no fathers, etc. Due to their abandonment issues, parents who aren’t around or on drugs, etc. these girls lash out in anger, because they are really hurting inside.

Some of these girls are actually really smart — they just have walked down the wrong path.

As I continued to watch the show, I started to feel really bad for these girls, and listening to the stories of physical, mental, and sexual abuse some of these girls have gone through in their short lives really broke my heart.

My sister lives in Indiana, about 30 minutes north of Indianapolis. I did not realize that Indianapolis was the 10th most dangerous city in the entire US. These girl had to grow up and survive in a really dangerous place, and often, when they are released, they go right back into their old environments.

This documentary is really well done and really brings another perspective to the life of being a juvenile delinquent. These girls do not do drugs, commit crimes, etc., because they like it, but they are doing it because they are deeply hurting and do not know how to handle their emotions, so they lash out and do destructive things.

If you are a fan of prison shows / documentaries, I would recommend this one.