Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Introduction: Take No Prisoners

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pp. 1-20

Prison.

Prison is a bad place. It always has been. It always will be. And yet it is the object of assorted cultural fantasies, expressed in mainstream obsessions with prison- themed TV series, movies, music, and literature. I have not watched a single episode of Orange Is the New Black. I had to google “prison TV series” to find out about Oz and Prison Break. All of this is to say, I do not share the fantasy. I do not find prison stories tantalizing. And yet I am, in effect, writing...

Part I. Outside

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1. With its institutions: The Education State

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pp. 23-56

The scene is a ubiquitous one and very much American: on a warm spring day, a group of teenage boys plays flag football on a grassy field behind a three-story brick building. The game is high- spirited and the teams evenly matched. The distinctions between this particular scene and its mimetic counterparts are no less American. Here, the Black, teenage boys are prisoners. The grassy field is the grounds of the prison yard. The brick building, the prison.

The security staff at the Lincoln Treatment Center, a high-security juvenile prison for young men, had convinced...

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2. Keys: Lockup and Juvenile Prison

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pp. 57-74

State, public, and private life in the United States is organized very much by the demarcation of keys and locks. I lock my house, my car, my office, my filing cabinet, my computer, my bank account, my electronic files, my e-mail, my shed, my children’s bicycles, and my cell phone, among countless other things. I lock them to keep others out. I lock them to protect what is mine. And I lock them to maintain my right to determine with whom I might share access. I have physical key chains with metal keys to doors and cabinets and padlocks. I have electronic...

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3. The Street: Arterials of the White State

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pp. 75-92

When the Interim Principal walked me out the front door of the Lincoln building, he said, “Oh, I have to get some fresh air,” and stepped into the Outside. We stood for a moment just outside that front door.

Enjoying the fresh air, he said, “I generally like the kids.”

Then, a very slight tap on one of the classroom safety-glass windows briefly caught our attention, and the Interim Principal said, “Until they do stuff like that and get themselves ejected.” Ejection from school was followed by subjection to solitary confinement...

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4. Second Possession: Racial Property and Removal

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pp. 93-116

Amani sat across from me.

“My PO tryin’ to surrender me,” he said, sharing a worry and question: “What do I do?”

Given the spaces in which we were able to talk privately, the young men in Lincoln and I often had to sit directly across from one another, mimicking the typical arrangements of prison visitation.

“What do you mean?” I asked gingerly.

Amani was always very cleanly dressed, freshly shaved, and polite in his posture. He was not the tallest...

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5. Home: A Story in Three Parts

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pp. 117-154

Each weekday morning, the metropolitan transit authority safely transports hundreds of thousands of overwhelmingly White suburbanites into the city’s financial center, delivering them to lucrative day jobs, and then ferries them home again in the evening. At the dinner hour, these suburbanites pour out of subways into park&ride lots and find their way home through wandering, bucolic streets. They pull into driveways and garages where their median home price is racing toward $1 million and—although their inner domestic life is as rife with alcoholism...

Part II. Inside

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6. Compulsory Schooling: Inside the Education State

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pp. 157-214

Inside Lincoln Treatment Center, cutting across the architectural axis of the building, was the holy transept of state Removal: the school.

The one long hallway with classrooms lining one side—and windows, doors to stairs, a bathroom, and closets on the other—captured nearly seven hours of the Lincoln inmates’ days. The young men moved silently in single file from room to room for a series of exercises in prison teaching and learning. Lincoln school had two teachers in each core subject area, and the prisoners were divided in half among...

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7. The Architecture of Discipline: Personal Safety and Prison Security

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pp. 215-266

“A lot has changed since you left,” said Bill, chuckling faintly, clearly ill at ease. I had been gone one week.

When I buzzed in at the front door that morning, Dwight was not at the front desk. Mike (he had a name tag), sporting a tight grey T-shirt with ARMY decaled in black across the chest, sat where Dwight normally sat. Mike sat facing four computer terminals— up from the one Dwight had—and when he stood, smiled, and said formally, “Hello, ma’am,” it appeared he might actually be in the Army. He was short, White, muscular,...

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8. Guilty by Association: Kinship and Treatment

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pp. 267-310

State security and schooling praxes across DJA aimed to sever inmates from their families and communities on the Outside. They cleaved prisoners and detainees from each other and from knowledge along seemingly rigid boundaries of race, gender, sexuality, and class, mapping state fears of Black intelligence, of antipatriarchal, female sexuality, and of the possibilities of Black, matrilocal, matrifocal counterknowledge production. Prison school and security produced state desires for criminality and cemented formal conditions of noncitizenship. These separations...

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Conclusion: Futilities

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pp. 311-328

At the end of a long drive from Lincoln to work, I noticed huge blimps hovering in the sky and realized they were escorting the Celtics parade downtown: a bloated, floating convoy of revelry. The Celtics had won the NBA title on Tuesday night, and local fans were celebrating. I drove through a square and past the subway stop and then was stopped dead in my car by masses of mostly White people pouring out of the station and onto the street, decked out in their green regalia, carrying shamrocked paraphernalia and sundry green signs. Families, couples,...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 329-332

No book belongs to the author. While the errors are all mine, the stories and ideas are the results of collective endeavor and generosity.

I owe my greatest thanks to the subjects of this story. The people who agreed to participate in the research were incredibly generous. They offered insight and risked vulnerability, with absolutely no promise or possibility of personal gain. I was personally fond of some participants, disliked some others, and about others felt indifferent. But I feel deeply indebted to each and every last participant for the stories and observations they shared. Those stories make...

Notes

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pp. 333-368

Index

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pp. 369-381

About the Author

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p. 382