Death Before Sentencing

Making a case for substantial prison reform, this week's review examines the lack of accountability American county and local jail systems take for the avoidable deaths of detainees.

Death Before Sentencing: Ending Rampant Suicide, Overdoses, Brutality, and Malpractice in America’s Jails

Klein, Andrew R. Rowman & Littlefield, 2022
330p bibl index, 9781538162279 $36.00, 9781538162286 $34.00

Death Before Sentencing: Ending Rampant Suicide, Overdoses, Brutality, and Malpractice in America's Jails book cover.

In this exposé of deaths in US jails, Klein, a long-time correctional worker and reformist, digs deeply into a largely ignored space. Though federal and state prisons are more consistently researched, Klein studies more than 3,000 county and local jails to examine how they continue to escape accountability for the deaths that occur inside them. Klein pens nine chapters showing how history can shed light on the brutality of contemporary jails. Evidence of suicides, untreated drug and substance withdrawals, forced restraint, medical malpractice, disingenuous autopsies, and lack of political oversight make clear that the American prison system has abetted avoidable deaths and needs serious reform. Klein is persuasive, measured, and deliberative yet allows his detailed research to speak for itself. The result is eye-opening and should be read by all those interested in criminology, law, sociology, and prison reform. Researchers can quickly see that there simply is not another book quite like this, making Klein’s work groundbreaking.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. Advanced undergraduates through faculty; practitioners; general readers.
: A. R. S. Lorenz, Ramapo College
Interdisciplinary Subjects: Law & Society
: Social & Behavioral Sciences – Political Science – U.S. Politics
Choice Issue: Jan 2023

Enjoy this week’s review? Check out more reviews of related titles: