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The Long Term
Resisting Life Sentences Working Toward Freedom

Powerful, provocative narratives of people surviving the devastating affects of life in long term incarceration.

The voices of those experiencing life in the long term are often not heard. This collection of essays and personal stories from the people most impacted by long-term incarceration in Statesville Prison bring light to the crisis of mass incarceration and the human cost of excessive sentencing. Compelling, moving narratives from those most affected by the prison industrial complex make a compelling case that death by incarceration is cruel and unusual punishment.

Implemented in the 1990’s and 2000’s harsh sentencing policies, commonly labeled “tough on crime,” became a bipartisan political agenda. These policies had real impacts on families and communities, particularly as they caused the removal of many non-white and poor individuals from cities like Chicago.


The Long Term brings into the light what has previously been hidden, a counter-narrative to the tough on crime agenda and an urgent plea for a more humane criminal justice system. The book is a critical contribution to the current debate around challenging the mass incarceration and ending mandatory sentencing, especially for non-violent offenders.

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