"There was a time I believed prisons existed to rehabilitate people, to make our communities safer. . . . When I saw for the first time (but not the last) a mother sobbing and clutching her son when visiting hours were up, only to be physically pried off and escorted out by guards, I knew nothing about that made me safer. This is the heart of this country's prison system. And the prison system has become the heart of America."Walidah Imarisha, from the Introduction.
"Angels with Dirty Faces" is no romanticized tale of crime and punishment. The three lives in this creative nonfiction account are united by the presence of actual harmsometimes horrific violence. Imarisha, dealing with the complexities of her own experience with sexual assault and accountability, brings us behind prison walls to visit her adopted brother Kakamia and his fellow inmate Jimmy Mac McElroy, a member of the brutal Irish gang the Westies. Together they explore the questions: People can do unimaginable damage to one anotherand then what? What do we as a society do? What might redemption look like?
Imarisha doesn t flinch as she guides us through the difficulties and contradictions, eschewing theory for a much messier reality. The result is a nuanced and deeply personal analysis that allows readers to connect emotionally with the lives of people caught up within, and often destroyed by, our criminal justice system.
A highly personalized and intimate portrait by a courageous writer who goes beyond cliches and platitudes. This book is a bracing, clear-eyed exploration of one of the most important issues of our time: the growing incarceration rate in the US, and the consequences of this for citizens both inside and outside prison walls. T.J. English, "New York Times" best-selling author of "Where the Bodies Were Buried" and "The Westies"
Walidah Imarisha gives us an unvarnished take on prison abolition. Beyond slogans or strategy, we are left with people, in all our imperfections and possibilities. This is a bold, beautiful, and absolutely necessary book, told with urgency and passion. Dan Berger, author of "Captive Nation"
Walidah Imarisha has written a brave book. It demonstrates both the universality and distinctiveness of three lives enmeshed through the US prison system. Imarisha pushes us to give up easy distinctions between innocence and guilt, good and evil, and to experience punishment and imprisonment as the messy, complex systems they are. And she reminds us that while there are no winners in this game, it is one replete with compassion, care, and resistance enough to permeate walls and cages. Rachel Herzing, co-founder of Critical Resistance.
"Angels with Dirty Faces" is a superbly written shocking, sensuous, sometimes sadistic and even scandalous binding of biographies struggling with the question: What does redemption actually mean? It is impossible for one to engage this work and not emerge on the other side profoundly affected. Sundiata Acoli, Political Prisoner
"Walidah Imarisha relates the experiences of crime, punishment, and victimization, not as abstractions, but as lived human tragedies. She shows us how they diminish and distortbut never definethe lives of those who suffer them. Writing with sorrow, and anger, and courageous hope, she forces us to reconsider what we mean by "justice," and by what endeavors its cause might be advanced, if never finally achieved. Kristian Williams, author "Our Enemies in Blue"
"I read "Angels With Dirty Faces" in one sitting, mesmerized by what Walidah Imarisha has accomplished. It is a daring dive into the real deal about why prisons don't work...written in such lyrical, fierce poetry it takes your breath away." Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, editor of "The Revolution Starts at Home"""Críticas:
Walidah Imarisha relates the experiences of crime, punishment, and victimization, not as abstractions, but as lived human tragedies. She shows us how they diminish and distort - but never define - the lives of those who suffer them. Writing with sorrow, and anger, and courageous hope, she forces us to reconsider what we mean by 'justice,' and by what endeavors its cause might be advanced, if never finally achieved. --Kristian Williams, author of Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Power in America
Angels with Dirty Faces is a powerful exploration of America's prison nation. Using three disparate yet interconnected stories, including her own, Walidah Imarisha gives us an unvarnished take on prison abolition. Beyond slogans or strategy, we are left with people, in all our imperfections and possibilities. This is a bold, beautiful, and absolutely necessary book, told with urgency and passion. --Dan Berger, author of Captive Nation: Black Prison Organizing in the Civil Rights Era
We live in a violent state, run by a violent economic trap, that a violent prison system perpetuates and hides. The reality of violence in the US is so pervasive that the state has all the mirrors in the house covered up. Angels with Dirty Faces is a memoir of a reality so crucial and transformative that the state is desperate to keep it locked out of our collective consciousness. And yet we live it. Here, Imarisha is doing the work that we all must do if we are going to have the world we deserve. She is looking deeply at the violence of prisons and the lives and impact of people who have engaged in violent acts with a love that never stops believing that we are more than the violence that structures our days. There is hope, love, and honesty here. And a model for the conversations we need to have right now, right here in hell. --Alexis Pauline Gumbs
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