The U.S. holds 2.3 million of its people behind bars. That’s a population about the size of Houston’s, the country’s fourth-largest city. The number far exceeds what is necessary or reasonable. Sick Justice explores the economic, social, and political forces that hijacked the criminal justice system to create this bizarre situation. Presenting frightening true stories of prisoners serving astoundingly irrational sentences, Ivan G. Goldman shows the real reasons that disproportionate numbers of minorities, the poor, and the mentally ill end up incarcerated.
Goldman exposes inept bureaucracies running prisons as he dissects twisted three-strikes laws, the widespread phenomenon of jailing for profit, the outsized power of prison guards’ unions, the ineffective and never-ending war on drugs, the closing of mental health institutions across the country, and other blunders and avaricious practices that have brought us to this point.
Sick Justice tells a big, gripping story that’s long overdue. By illuminating the system’s brutality and greed and prisoners’ gratuitous suffering, the book aims to be a catalyst for reform. It complements the work of the Innocence Project, Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) and similar reform-minded organizations. It mirrors the effects of Michael Harrington’s The Other America: Poverty in the United States (1962), which became the driving force behind the war on poverty.
About the Author
IVAN G. GOLDMAN is the New York Times–best-selling author of four novels, including Isaac: A Modern Fable (The Permanent Press, 2012), and the nonfiction L.A. Secret Police: Inside the LAPD Elite Spy Network, with Mike Rothmiller (Pocket, 1992), a book that prompted the department to padlock its intelligence division. He has covered Congress for the Washington Post, worked the national and foreign desks of the Los Angeles Times and was an editorial writer for the Seattle Post- Intelligencer. His articles have appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, The Nation, Rolling Stone, and the New York Times. He blogs about current events at http://redroom.com/member/ivan-g-goldman. He lives in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.