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  • Hard-hitting and personal: Combining extensive research with her family’s experience of her sister’s incarceration, Schenwar reveals the enormous damage prison causes by severing millions of people from their families and communities,.
  • Alternatives that work: Schenwar explores alternatives to incarceration that provide healing and resolution to victims while building public safety in communities, and which can be expanded to create a safer, more just world

In Locked Down, Locked Out, journalist Maya Schenwar looks at how prison breaks apart families and communities, creating a rippling effect that touches every corner of our society. Through the stories of prisoners and their families, as well as her own family's experience of her sister's incarceration, Schenwar shows how the institution that locks up 2.3 million Americans—and decimates poor communities of color—is shredding the ties that, if nurtured, could foster real collective safety.

The destruction does not end upon exiting the prison walls: The 95 percent of prisoners who are released emerge with even fewer economic opportunities and fewer human connections on the outside. Locked Down, Locked Out shows how incarceration takes away the very things that might enable people to build better lives.

Looking toward a future beyond imprisonment, Schenwar profiles community-based initiatives that foster anti-racist, anti-classist, pro-humanity approaches to justice. These programs successfully deal with problems—both individual harm and larger social wrongs—through connection rather than isolation, moving toward a safer future for all of us.