In the second of a two-part interview, journalist Hugh Hamilton discusses with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Chris Hedges the role of race and poverty in mass incarceration, as chronicled in Hedges’ new book, ‘Our Class: Trauma and Transformation in an American Prison’.
The pipeline that fuels our system of mass incarceration runs through the intersection of race and poverty in all too many of our neglected and marginalized urban centers. In his new book, ‘Our Class’, author Chris Hedges describes the impact of this debilitating poverty that pervades many of our cities and towns. He writes: “The social hell of urban America is the great destroyer of dreams. It batters and assaults the children of the poor. It teaches them that their dreams, and finally they themselves, are worthless. They go to bed hungry. They live with fear. They lose their fathers, brothers, and sisters to mass incarceration – and, at times, their mothers. “This social hell is relentless. It wears them down. It makes them angry and bitter. It drives them to hopelessness and despair. The message sent to them by the dysfunctional schools, the decrepit housing projects, the mercenary financial institutions, gang violence, instability, and ever-present police abuse, is that they are human refuse.”