Reading List



Blackmon, Douglas A. Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil

War to WWII.

Bonner, Raymond. Anatomy of Injustice: A Murder Case Gone Wrong.

Foucault, Michel. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison.

Hernandez, Kelly Lytle. City of Inmates: Conquest, Rebellion, and the Rise of Human Caging in

Los Angeles, 1771-1965.

Hinton, Elizabeth. America on Fire: The Untold History of Police Violence and Black Rebellion Since the 1960's.

Houppert, Karen. Chasing Gideon: The Elusive Quest for Poor People's Justice.

King, Gilbert. Devil in the Grove.

Oshinsky, David M. “Worse Than Slavery”: Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice.

Thompson, Heather Ann. Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy.



Abu-Jamal, Mumia. Live from Death Row.

Allen, Danielle S. Cuz: The Life and Times of Michael A.

Baca, Jimmy Santiago. A Place to Stand.

Bandele, Asha. The Prisoner’s Wife: A Memoir.

Barnett, Brittany K. A Knock at Midnight: A Story of Hope, Justice, and Freedom.

Betts, Reginald Dwayne. A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age

in Prison.

Bolden, Christian L. Out of the Red: My Life of Gangs, Prison, and Redemption.

Boyle, Gregory. Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion.

Brown, Cyntoia. Free Cyntoia: My Search for Redemption in the American Prison System.

Burton, Susan. Becoming Ms. Burton: From Prison to Recovery to Leading the Fight for

Incarcerated Women.

Charriere, Henri. Papillon.

Duncan, Lenny. United States of Grace: A Memoir of Homelessness, Addiction, Incarceration, and Hope.

The Elsinore-Bennu Think Tank for Restorative Justice. Life Sentences: Writings from Inside an American Prison.

Graves, Anthony. Infinite Hope: How Wrongful Conviction, Solitary Confinement, and Twelve Years on Death Row Failed to Kill My Soul.

Hayes, Billy. Midnight Express.

Hinton, Anthony Ray. The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row.

Hopwood, Shon. Law Man: My Story of Robbing Banks, Winning Supreme Court Cases, and Finding Redemption.

Huynh, Quan. Sparrow in the Razor Wire: Finding Freedom from Within While Serving a Life Sentence.

Jackson, George. Soledad Brother: The Prison Letters of George Jackson.

Jackson, Spoon. By Heart: Poetry, Prison, and Two Lives.

Kerman, Piper. Orange is the New Black.

Lamb, Wallie and the Women of York Correctional Institution. Couldn’t Keep it to Myself.

Lannert, Stacey. Redemption: A Story of Sisterhood, Survival, and Finding Redemption Behind Bars.

Manuel, Ian. My Time Will Come: A Memoir of Crime, Punishment, Hope, and Redemption.

Masters, Jay Jarvis. Finding Freedom: How Death Row Broke and Opened My Heart.

Masters, Jay Jarvis. That Bird Has My Wings: The Autobiography of an Innocent Man on Death Row.

McCall, Nathan. Makes Me Wanna Holler: A Young Black Man In America.

Parsell, T.J. Fish: A Memoir of a Boy in a Man's Prison.

Pearson, Felicia. Grace After Midnight: A Memoir.

Phelps, Carissa. Runaway Girl: Escaping Life on the Streets, One Helping Hand at a Time.

Prejean, Helen. Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States.

Rhodes-Courter, Ashley. Three Little Words.

Rideau, Wilbert. In the Place of Justice: A Story of Punishment and Redemption.

Rodriguez, Luis J. It Calls You Back: An Odyssey through Love, Addiction, Revolution, and Healing.

Senghor, Shaka. Writing My Wrongs: Life, Death and Redemption in an American Prison.

Shakur, Sanyika. Monster: The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member.

Steinberg, Avi. Running the Books.

Stevenson, Bryan. Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption.

Tobola, Deborah. Hummingbird in Underworld: Teaching in a Men’s Prison.

Ward, Jesmyn. Men We Reaped.

Wideman, John Edgar. Brother and Keepers.

Woodfox, Albert. Solitary: Unbroken by Four Decades of Solitary Confinement. My Story of

Transformation and Hope.


Prison Abolition

The Abolition Collective. Making Abolitionist Worlds: Proposals for a World on Fire.

Bernstein, Nell. Burning Down the House: The End of Juvenile Prison.

Davis, Angela. Are Prisons Obsolete?

Dixon, Ejeris. Beyond Survival: Strategies and Stories from the Transformative Justice Movement.

Gilmore, Ruth Wilson. Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California.

Kaba, Mariame. We Do This ‘Til We Free Us: Abolitionist Organizing and Transforming Justice.

Norris, Zach. Defund Fear: Safety Without Policing, Prisons, and Punishment.



Alexander, Michele. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.

The Aperture Foundation. Prison Nation.

Armour, Jody David. N*gga Theory: Race, Language, Unequal Justice, and the Law.

Bauer, Shane. American Prison: A Reporter’s Undercover Journey Into the Business of Punishment.

Bazelon, Emily. Charged: The New Movement to Transform American Prosecution and End Mass


Butler, Paul. Let's Get Free: A Hip-Hop Theory of Justice.

Conover, Ted. Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing.

Dreisinger, Baz. Incarceration Nations: A Journey to Justice in Prisons Around the World.

Drucker, Ernest, ed. Decarcerating America: From Mass Punishment to Public Health.

Eisen, Lauren-Brooke. Inside Private Prisons: An American Dilemma in the Age of Mass Incarceration.

Fleetwood, Nicole R. Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration.

Forman, James, Jr. Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America.

Garrett, Brandon. Convicting the Innocent: Where Criminal Prosecutions Go Wrong.

Gottschalk, Marie. Caught: The Prison State and the Lockdown of American Politics.

Harding, David J. After Prison: Navigating Adulthood in the Shadow of the Justice System.

Hayes, Chris. A Colony in a Nation.

Hinton, Elizabeth. From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in


Kilgore, James. Understanding Mass Incarceration: A People’s Guide to the Key Civil Rights Struggle of

Our Time.

Kim, Alice (ed.). The Long Term: Resisting Life Sentences Working Toward Freedom.

Kuklin, Susan. No Choirboy: Murder, Violence, and Teenagers on Death Row.

Lankford, Susan. Born, Not Raised: Voices from Juvenile Hall.

Larson, Doran. Fourth City: Essays from the Prison in America.

Law, Victoria. Prisons Make Us Safer: And 20 Other Myths About Mass Incarceration.

LeBlanc, Adrian Nicole. Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx.

Leovy, Jill. Ghettoside.

Miller, Reuben Jonathan. Halfway Home: Race, Punishment and the Afterlife of Mass Incarceration.

Rakoff, Jed S. Why the Innocent Plead Guilty and the Guilty Go Free: And Other Paradoxes of Our Broken Legal System.

Rathbone, Christina. A World Apart: Women, Prison, Life Behind Bars.

Richie, Beth E. Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America’s Prison Nation.

Roth, Alisa. Insane: America's Criminal Treatment of Mental Illness.

Rothstein, Richard. The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated


Santos, Michael G. Inside: Life Behind Bars in America.

Schenwar, Maya, & Victoria Law. Prison by any Other Name: The Harmful Consequences of Popular Reforms.

Sered, Danielle. Until We Reckon: Violence, Mass Incarceration, and a Road to Repair.

Smith, Mychal Denzel. Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching: A Young Black Man's Education.

Waldman, Ayelet. Inside this Place, Not of It: Narratives from Women’s Prisons.

Wang, Jackie. Carceral Capitalism.

Western, Bruce. Homeward: Life in the Year after Prison.


Fictional Works


Benioff, David. The 25th Hour.

Braly, Malcolm. On the Yard.

Chapman, Ryan. Riots I Have Known.

Crosby, S.A. Blacktop Wasteland.

Dawkins, Curtis. The Graybar Hotel.

Dumas, Alexandre. The Count of Monte Cristo.

Egan, Jennifer. The Keep.

Gaiman, Neil. American Gods.

Gantos, Jack. Hole in My Life.

Jones, Tayari. An American Marriage.

King, Stephen. The Green Mile.

King, Stephen. Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption.

Kushner, Rachel. Mars Room.

Mosley, Walter. The Right Mistake: The Further Philosophical Investigations of Socrates Fortlow.

PEN America. As I Hear the Rain: PEN America Prison Writing Awards Anthology.

PEN America. The Named and the Nameless: 2018 Prison Writing Awards Anthology.

Puig, Manuel. Kiss of the Spider Woman.

Ward, Jesmyn. Sing, Unburied Sing.

Waters, Sarah. Affinity.

Whitehead, Colson. The Nickel Boys.



Betts, Reginald Dwayne. Felon: Poems.

Knight, Etheridge. The Essential Etheridge Knight.

Poetry Magazine. The Practice of Freedom: February 2021.


Young Adult

Asante, MK. Buck: A Memoir.

Canada, Geoffrey. Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun.

Jackson, Tiffany D. Allegedly.

Myers, Walter Dean. Lockdown.

Myers, Walter Dean. Monster.

Neri, Greg. Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty.

Stone, Nic. Dear Justyce.

Volponi, Paul. Rikers High.