Convicted and Condemned: The Politics and Policies of Prisoner Reentry

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    Keesha Middlemass

    Publisher: NYU Press

    Year: 2017

    Format: Paperback

    Size: 297 pages

    ISBN: 9780814770627

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Winner, W. E. B. DuBois Distinguished Book Award presented by the National Conference of Black Political Scientists

Examines the lifelong consequences of a felony conviction through the compelling words of former prisoners

Felony convictions restrict social interactions and hinder felons’ efforts to reintegrate into society. The educational and vocational training offered in many prisons are typically not recognized by accredited educational institutions as acceptable course work or by employers as valid work experience, making it difficult for recently-released prisoners to find jobs. Families often will not or cannot allow their formerly incarcerated relatives to live with them. In many states, those with felony convictions cannot receive financial aid for further education, vote in elections, receive welfare benefits, or live in public housing. In short, they are not treated as full citizens, and every year, hundreds of thousands of people released from prison are forced to live on the margins of society.

Convicted and Condemned explores the issue of prisoner reentry from the felons’ perspective. It features the voices of formerly incarcerated felons as they attempt to reconnect with family, learn how to acclimate to society, try to secure housing, find a job, and complete a host of other important goals. By examining national housing, education and employment policies implemented at the state and local levels, Keesha Middlemass shows how the law challenges and undermines prisoner reentry and creates second-class citizens.

Even if the criminal justice system never convicted another person of a felony, millions of women and men would still have to figure out how to reenter society, essentially on their own. A sobering account of the after-effects of mass incarceration, Convicted and Condemned is a powerful exploration of how individuals, and society as a whole, suffer when a felony conviction exacts a punishment that never ends.

About the Author

Keesha M. Middlemass is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Trinity University where she researches topics at the intersection of race, institutions and public policies. Her scholarship is published in Punishment & Society, The Prison Journal, Aggressive Behavior, Criminal Justice & Behavior and Social Science Quarterly.

What People Are Saying
"Convicted and Condemned is one of the best ethnographic and first person accounts I have read, which sheds life on the real and tangible effects of public policies. It is an outstanding multi-layered analysis of prisoner reentry that includes public policies and lived experiences and provides a unique perspective to understanding prisoner reentry. A must read book for those responsible for policy making and working with this population." Byron Price, Author of Merchandizing Prisoners: Who Really Pays for Prison Privatization
"This fascinating book offers a sharp policy analysis and introduces a powerful framework for making sense of the experiences of those with a felony conviction. Keesha Middlemass provides an expert account of the various ways that a felony status is socially constructed and the implications of this construction for those with felony convictions in the years following their release from incarceration." Nikki Jones, Author of Between Good and Ghetto: African American Girls and Inner-City Violence
"The narrative in this important, impassioned book is strengthened by the voices of those stigmatizedmale and female, black and whiteseeking to find their footing in a hostile environment." Choice

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