Going Up the River: Travels in a Prison Nation

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Joseph Hallinan is an investigative journalist, and somewhat of a prison "tourist". This is a remarkable compilation of his American prison travel log. Interviews with inmates and prison staff are placed alongside historical accounts and anecdotal stories. In particular I enjoyed reading just how much the design and intent of Easter State Penitentiary right here in Philadelphia has truly impacted the prison industry up to the present day. I also have to admit that I got my outrage on reading a Joseph Hallinan is an investigative journalist, and somewhat of a prison "tourist".

I also have to admit that I got my outrage on reading about some of the prison practices that go on behind those walls: Hallinan feels the injustice of the American criminal justice system and passes this on to his readers. He also passes on a feeling of the inadequacy of the prison system: I think that's healthy to realize that the system is limited and in many ways a failure. I also enjoyed reading abut some of the remaining humanity within the American prisons: Prison rodeos just like it sounds, prisoners on bucking broncos in Oklahoma.

And other touching stories. This book was written just less than a decade ago, and Hallinan ends on a hopeful note, reporting about declining prison populations and about prisons that are shutting down. Unfortunately the numbers he left his readers with have since skyrocketed, and prisons remain in their boom. As an overview of the American prison project, this book is very valuable.


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Thanks Katie Jo for passing it on to me! Sep 22, Patricia rated it really liked it. I finally found this book; most annoyingly, as I was really enjoying it, it was lost for a good 6 or 7 weeks! I do believe I'll have to start over at the beginning, but at least I wasn't too far into it when it went missing. My niece Lea recommended this book to me, after having read it for a class at Occidental College. Her prof had said that, although it was published in , the issues it raised were still timely.

WELL, this book, together with The New Jim Crow, presents abo I finally found this book; most annoyingly, as I was really enjoying it, it was lost for a good 6 or 7 weeks! The book is particularly meaningful to me because there has been a prison built in Lovelock, NV a town near and dear to my heart , giving me a personal view of the impact the prison-industrial complex has had on small, rural towns. The author writes well and clearly; he states facts and supports them with more facts, interspersing them with stories of real people to illustrate the issues.

Apr 28, Stephen rated it it was amazing Shelves: Last this past week I read Up the River: Travels in a Prison Nation, by Joseph T. Hallman, in which Hallman gives a history of American penalism while traveling throughout the country and visiting its most pivotal prisons.


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One out of every one hundred Americans is in prison, which is quite a statistic: Prisons are big business, and that's the point of Hallman's book. Whereas in the past prisons w Last this past week I read Up the River: Whereas in the past prisons were thought to be "reformatories" that might fix crime, or at least a place of last resort, now they're a source of revenue.

Prisoners are captive consumers and cheap labor, and the enormous facilities that keep them isolated from society are the economic backbone of counties across the nation that have seen their industries move overseas for cheap labor of their own. Now prisoners are "clients", and cities hope for their numbers to grow.

This book was really fascinating and an interesting read. I knew almost nothing about prisons except that one of them held my choir teacher for a few months. There are some crazy things happening in the prisons. The other thing that I had never thought about before was the purpose of prisons: I still haven't formed a concrete opinion about what I think that purpose of prisons should be.

I do know, however, that I never want to be in prison ever but This book was really fascinating and an interesting read. I do know, however, that I never want to be in prison ever but especially in the Southern US. Jan 10, Jessica Landesman rated it it was amazing Recommended to Jessica by: I absolutely loved this book. I learned why we have prisons is as much political and commercial as the supermarket down the block. Going Up River made me want to reform the prison system for the couple weeks after reading it, but then I quickly found myself discouraged by all the bureaucratic and political shambles involved that were touched on by the author as well.

We profit off of thieves, rapists, and murderers.

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Oh the tangled I absolutely loved this book. Oh the tangled webs we weave If you don't know what goes on in prisons, this will inform you. If you don't have any strong opinions as to what goes on in them, this won't give you any. Hallinan presents only the facts of the system, and only the unvarnished accounts of the men and women who inhabit it. Which is all well and good, for the sake of objectivity, but leaves the book lacking a certain ardor.

I wish this had been a little more opinionated. Dec 30, Rick rated it liked it. Read for my Prison Law class. A little too breezy, but a good journalistic account of what others call the "prison-industrial complex. May 03, Noah rated it really liked it. Not exactly a light read, but very good. This book is about 10 years old, but it doesn't feel particularly dated. Some parts are so brutal I felt physically ill.

If you care about this stuff and if you don't, you probably should , it's a good place to start. It also makes a great complement to Newjack, giving the macro perspective instead of the personal. Apr 13, Steven is currently reading it.

Going up the river : travels in a prison nation

Interesting overview of the American prison system, with particular attention to Texas prisons, specifically the farming prisons in the bottomland between the Trinity River and the Brazos. In other words, while the book is national in scope, it spends a lot of time on the prisons in the Houston region. Good history of the various approaches to crime and punishment over years and cultures Made me glad I'm not in prison.

Made me sad that so many other people are.

Going Up the River: Travels in a Prison Nation - Foundation for Economic Education

There are some things worse than the death penalty, and if everything in this book is true, than going to prison is one of them. If you're reaction to that is "Good, they deserve it" than you should read the book and see if your cold, dark heart softens a little. Mar 01, Jan rated it really liked it Shelves: A shocking, eye-opening look at the U. Although this book is now more than 10 years old, I'm sure that much of what it describes is still occurring in today's prison system.

While you may come away from reading this book with more questions than answers about our "justice" system, you will certainly be thinking about it for a long time to come. Jan 01, Frederick Bingham rated it liked it. A book about America's obsession with prisons and incarceration.

Going Up the River Travels in a Prison Nation

The author visits prisons all over the country, from Maine to California, and documents some of the inhumane conditions he finds. He describes the absurdity of putting so many people in prison as well as the incredible expense and waste. Mar 15, Ben rated it really liked it Shelves: Every law student should read this book before 1st year crim law and procedure. It is an indictment of prisons being used as both the sole punitive remedy for crime, and it becoming an economic boon to poor, rural areas.

Sep 23, Victoria Law rated it it was ok Shelves: Lots of historical information about prisons in the U. May 12, Aaron rated it liked it Recommends it for: Jul 05, Matt rated it really liked it. A good introduction to the prison-industrial complex. Aug 13, Rebekah rated it liked it Shelves: Informative look at the prison complex in the US.

For the complete list, go to http: Jun 02, Darrell rated it it was amazing. Mar 28, Katie Hawkins rated it liked it. This sheds light on the corruption within our prison systems. However, it is also extremely bias in some chapters. I don't usually rate nonfiction. This was an eye-opening read on the business model behind supermax prisons. Don't have an account? Your Web browser is not enabled for JavaScript. Some features of WorldCat will not be available. Create lists, bibliographies and reviews: Search WorldCat Find items in libraries near you.

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