Expert recommended books on prison covering fiction and nonfiction.
By teaching philosophy in prisons, British philosopher Andy West was not only able to engage with core issues of the human condition, but also to come to terms with members of his own family’s experience of being in prison. Here, he talks us through some books that deal with being locked up, from Auschwitz to Vancouver Island, as well as one by a victim of violent crime.
The Autobiography of Malcolm X
by Malcolm X and assisted by Alex Haley, Laurence Fishburne (narrator)
A Place to Stand
by Jimmy Santiago Baca
Writing My Wrongs: Life, Death, and Redemption in an American Prison
by Shaka Senghor
Couldn't Keep It to Myself: Testimonies from Our Imprisoned Sisters
by Wally Lamb
True Notebooks: A Writer's Year at Juvenile Hall
by Mark Salzman
Prison literature can make difficult reading but is often incredibly touching, testimony to the resilience of the human spirit. David Coogan, an English professor at Virginia Commonwealth University who runs a creative writing workshop at Richmond City Jail, introduces ‘prison literature.’
The lawyer, who’s defended many clients on death row, tells us why the legal system in capital cases is set up to fail, and says all of us should know more about what happens in an execution
Emeritus professor at the LSE’s Mannheim Centre for the Study of Criminology & Criminal Justice tells us about the consequences of mass incarceration and a breakdown in social and moral cohesion