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Gates of Injustice - The Crisis in America's Prisons

by Alan Elsner, FT Prentice Hall, 256 pp., hardcover

Review by Tom Murlowski

"Alan Elsner's powerful book demonstrates that our $40 billion corrections system for both adults and juveniles is badly broken. Our jails and prisons and penitentiaries are failing us at enormous cost in money and in danger to society ... This book should be a wake-up call for federal, state and local governments across America." - Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA)

Alan Elsner, a National Correspon-
dent with Reuters News Service, has 25 years experience in journalism, covering stories ranging from the 9/11 attacks on America and the crisis in the Middle East, to the 2000 presidential election and the end of the Cold War.

In Gates Of Injustice, he brings his journalistic expertise to bear on the horrific conditions in America's prisons. In sparse, no-nonsense language, he relates personal stories of the suffering endured by America's prisoners. Mr. Elsner spent over two years researching this book, interviewing hundreds of prisoners and their loved ones, prison guards, lawyers and lawmakers. The result is a tightly woven portrait, shining a spotlight behind the walls and razor wire.

Even long-time readers of PLN will be shocked at the seemingly endless stories of abuse, degradation and downright torture. Meticulously sourced and footnoted, this book is a must read for anyone struggling to reform the prisons and jails of America, The World's Leading Jailer.

You'll read how race-based gangs control institutions and prey on the weak, and how prison authorities simply look the other way and how a rape epidemic has swept the U.S. prison system. You'll discover the plight of 300,000 mentally ill prisoners, some abandoned to suffer with grossly inadequate medical care.

Elsner takes you inside the "supermax" prisons, where inmates are denied any human contact, sometimes for decades, and how most are slowly driven insane by the endless solitude. He details how corruption and brutality within U.S. prisons and jails have exploded since the birth of the modern War on Drugs. You'll also learn how prisons help to spread infectious diseases throughout our society ... one of the ways the prison crisis touches everyone, even those who have never had a brush with the law.

Elsner offers compelling arguments for reform, detailing how a massive "Prison-Industrial Complex" influences the highest levels of government for its own financial gain, regardless of the costs to society in both dollars and human suffering.

For more information, and to order Gates Of Injustice, visit It is also recommend that you call your local library and have them order Gates Of Injustice. Published by FT Prentice Hall, ISBN 0-13-142791-1.

[Tom Murlowski is with The November Coalition 795 South Cedar " Colville, WA 99114

(509)684-1550 "]

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