shane bauer

A Harrowing Tale of the Incarceration System in Shane Bauer’s ‘American Prison’

Lee Polevoi

American Prison aims to be several different things, including a first-person undercover account of what it feels like to guard a general population in a for-profit prison. It’s also  an in-depth history of American convict labor and the rise of private prisons since Colonial times—and how outsourced incarceration has grown over time into a huge business. Bauer’s risky enterprise into life as a corrections officer was partly informed by his experiences as a prisoner in Iran for more than two years. 

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