Virtual Event: Bill Keller
What's Prison For?:
Punishment and Rehabilitation
in the Age of Mass Incarceration
in conversation with JILL ABRAMSON
October 28, 2022
6:00 PM ET
Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.
Free - $5 contribution suggested at registration
Harvard Book Store’s Virtual Event Series welcomes Pulitzer-prize-winning journalist BILL KELLER for a discussion of his new book What's Prison For?: Punishment and Rehabilitation in the Age of Mass Incarceration. He will be joined in conversation by JILL ABRAMSON, former executive editor of The New York Times.
Contribute to Support Harvard Book Store
While payment is not required, we are suggesting a $5 contribution to support this author series, our staff, and the future of Harvard Book Store—a locally owned, independently run Cambridge institution. In addition, by purchasing a copy of What's Prison For? on harvard.com, you support indie bookselling and the writing community during this difficult time.
About What’s Prison For?
What’s Prison For? examines the “incarceration” part of “mass incarceration.” What happens inside prisons and jails, where nearly two million Americans are held? Bill Keller, one of America’s most accomplished journalists, has spent years immersed in the subject. He argues that the most important role of prisons is preparing incarcerated people to be good neighbors and good citizens when they return to society, as the overwhelming majority will.
Keller takes us inside the walls of our prisons, where we meet men and women who have found purpose while in state custody; American corrections officials who have set out to learn from Europe’s state-of-the-art prison campuses; a rehab unit within a Pennsylvania prison, dubbed Little Scandinavia, where lifers serve as mentors; a college behind bars in San Quentin; a women’s prison that helps imprisoned mothers bond with their children; and Keller’s own classroom at Sing Sing.
Surprising in its optimism, What’s Prison For? is an indispensable guide on how to improve our prison system, and a powerful argument that the status quo is a shameful waste of human potential.
Praise for What’s Prison For?
“America’s unjust system of mass incarceration tears families apart, costs taxpayers billions of dollars each year, and doesn’t make our communities any safer. Bill Keller has been shining a light at our broken criminal justice system for years, and powerfully argues that America can and must do better. To do nothing or say nothing only reinforces the current nightmare. I hope you read this book, learn, and in some way, join the growing bipartisan efforts to bring about urgently needed change.” —Senator Cory Booker
“A compassionate argument about why any reckoning with mass incarceration should transform imprisonment itself.... A strong single-volume response to a seemingly intractable national dilemma.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A learned, lucid primer on the American prison system—its history and particularly on the best ideas for reforming it. Broadly sourced, intelligently curated, wisely explained.” —Ted Conover, author of Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing
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