Understanding E-carceration: Electronic Monitoring, the Surveillance State, and the Future of Mass Incarceration

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    James Kilgore

    Publisher: The New Press

    Year: 2022

    Format: Paperback

    Size: 224 pages

    ISBN: 9781620976142

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A riveting primer on the growing trend of surveillance, monitoring, and control that is extending our prison system beyond physical walls and into a dark future—by the prize-winning author of Understanding Mass Incarceration

"James Kilgore is one of my favorite commentators regarding the phenomenon of mass incarceration and the necessity of pursuing truly transformative change." Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow

During the last decade, as consensus has grown that mass incarceration is morally reprehensible, financially unsustainable, and politically unviable, criminal justice reforms that release prisoners from actual prisons have been nearly universally embraced. But as educator, author, and formerly incarcerated activist James Kilgore brilliantly exposes, these reforms are largely a part of the phenomenon of e-carceration—the slow, sinister way that technological interventions are expanding to increasingly and creatively deprive justice-involved people and other marginalized groups of their freedoms, all in the name of ending mass incarceration.

People subject to the constraints of e-carceration can be denied access to employment, housing, medical treatment, therapy, and even the opportunity to spend time with their families. The harm caused by data harvesting, which involves the collection and storage of data, has no time boundaries. Certain e-carceration technologies, like facial recognition, persist even without the knowledge of their subjects. And sometimes, people may be accidentally complicit in the intensification of their own e-carceration by adding data and information to databases used to predict behavior and authorize official responses.

In this searing and powerful work, Kilgore examines the dark side of this evolution of mass incarceration, from the simple analog-like ankle shackle to the great corporate data clouds in the sky—and offers a way forward.

What People Are Saying

“Kilgore presents a devastating critique of policy tools like electronic monitoring that masquerade as meaningful alternatives to incarceration but offer little hope for a more just and humane future. There is a more promising way forward and this necessary and insightful book helps us to see the path more clearly.” Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow

“When I introduced the term e-carceration in 2015, I never imagined the extent to which technology would expand mass incarceration. James Kilgore did. This book offers a re-imagined future for civil rights and abolition in a digital age.” Malkia Devich-Cyril, founding director of the Center for Media Justice

“Uncovers the truth behind the digital smokescreen, revealing how the intimate details of people’s lives are devoured, digested, and used to deepen social control in the name of public safety and prison reform.” Ruha Benjamin, professor of African American studies at Princeton University and founding director of the IDA B. WELLS Just Data Lab

“An incisive, thoroughly researched, and utterly frightening investigation into how technology, posing as reform, is expanding our prison nation into systems of hybrid punishment.” Victoria Law, author of Prison by Any Other Name and “Prisons Make us Safer”: And 20 Other Myths about Mass Incarceration

“Kilgore’s straightforward prose and clear explanations expose the police state’s relentless expansion into every corner of vulnerable lives. Who pays? Who benefits? Read this book.” Ruth Wilson Gilmore, author of Change Everything and Golden Gulag

“Essential reading. A powerful precautionary tale about how big data and technology can undermine the kind of society we want to build.” Elizabeth Hinton, author of From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime and America on Fire

“Kilgore warns us that the surveillance state is forever upgrading tech to expand its reach. He carefully explains the harms of carceral technology and invites us to work for an abolitionist future.” Naomi Murakawa, associate professor of African American studies at Princeton University

Tags: James Kilgore ....... policing and repression ....... Prisoners & Prisons ....... technology ....... The New Press .......