Powerful, provocative narratives of people surviving the devastating affects of life in long term incarceration.
Long Term Offenders, or LTOs, is the state’s term for those it condemns to effective death by imprisonment. Often serving sentences of sixty to eighty years, LTOs bear the brunt of the bipartisan embrace of mass incarceration heralded by the “tough on crime” agenda of the 1990s and 2000s. Like the rest of the United States’ prison population—the world’s highest per capita—they are disproportionately poor and non-white. The Long Term brings these often silenced voices to light, offering a powerful indictment of the prison-industrial complex from activists, scholars, and those directly surviving and resisting these sentences. In showing the devastation caused by a draconian prison system, the essays also highlight the humanity and courage of the people most affected. This striking collection of essays gives voice to people both inside and outside prison struggling for liberation, dismantles claims that the “tough on crime” agenda and LTO sentencing keep us safe, and reveals the white supremacism and patriarchy upon which the prison system rests. In its place, the contributors propose a range of far-reaching reforms and raise the even more radical demand of abolition, drawing on the experience of campaigns in the United States and beyond.