The Guardian

I read The New Jim Crow in jail. It changed my life | Jason Hernandez

The book was banned by New Jersey prisons, and I understand why: it showed me the injustice of our criminal justice system
‘The book put my personal experiences into a bigger perspective for me.’ Photograph: Eric Risberg/AP

When I heard that The New Jim Crow – a book by Michelle Alexander about how mass incarceration in America is a new form of racial control – had been banned by New Jersey prisons, I was shocked, angered and saddened. That’s the exact same way I felt when I first read the book behind bars.

At the time, I was serving a sentence of life without parole for a nonviolent drug

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