Dreams from the Monster Factory: A Tale of Prison, Redemption, and One Woman's Fight to Restore Justice to All

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Dreams from the Monster Factory tells the true story of Sunny Schwartz's extraordinary work in the criminal justice system and how her profound belief in people's ability to change is transforming the San Francisco jails and the criminals incarcerated there. With an immediacy made possible by a twenty-seven-year career, Schwartz immerses the reader in the troubling and complex realities of U.S. jails, the monster factories -- places that foster violence, rage and, ultimately, better criminals. But by working in the monster factories, Schwartz also discovered her dream of a criminal justice system that empowers victims and reforms criminals.

Charismatic and deeply compassionate, Sunny Schwartz grew up on Chicago's south side in the 1960s. She fought with her family, struggled through school and floundered as she tried to make something of herself. Bucking expectations of failure, she applied to a law school that didn't require a college degree, passed the bar and began her life's work in the criminal justice system. Eventually she grew disheartened by the broken, inflexible system, but instead of quitting, she reinvented it, making jail a place that could change people for the better.

In 1997, Sunny launched the Resolve to Stop the Violence Project (RSVP), a groundbreaking program for the San Francisco Sheriff 's Department. RSVP, which has cut recidivism for violent rearrests by up to 80 percent, brings together victims and offenders in a unique correctional program that empowers victims and requires offenders to take true responsibility for their actions and eliminate their violent behavior.

Sunny Schwartz's faith in humanity, her compassion and her vision are inspiring. In Dreams from the Monster Factory she goes beyond statistics and sensational portrayals of prison life to offer an intimate, harrowing and revelatory chronicle of crime, punishment and, ultimately, redemption.
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About the author

Sunny Schwartz is a twenty-seven-year veteran of the criminal justice system who speaks nationally about the sheriff's innovative in-jail programs, the establishment of the first charter high school in the nation for incarcerated adults, and the successes of restorative justice through the Resolve to Stop the Violence Project (RSVP). Her program was the recipient of the prestigious Innovations in Government Award, sponsored by the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She lives in San Francisco with her partner, Lauren, and their daughter, Ella. Visit her Web site at www.sunnyschwartz.com.

David Boodell
is a writer, television producer and director who has worked with A&E, the History Channel, Discovery, and other networks. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Liesl, and their dog, Murphy.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Jan 6, 2009
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Pages
224
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ISBN
9781416570103
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Social Science / Criminology
Social Science / Popular Culture
Social Science / Violence in Society
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Jonathan Kozol
“The nation needs to be confronted with the crime that we’re committing and the promises we are betraying. This is a book about betrayal of the young, who have no power to defend themselves. It is not intended to make readers comfortable.”

Over the past several years, Jonathan Kozol has visited nearly 60 public schools. Virtually everywhere, he finds that conditions have grown worse for inner-city children in the 15 years since federal courts began dismantling the landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Education. First, a state of nearly absolute apartheid now prevails in thousands of our schools. The segregation of black children has reverted to a level that the nation has not seen since 1968. Few of the students in these schools know white children any longer. Second, a protomilitary form of discipline has now emerged, modeled on stick-and-carrot methods of behavioral control traditionally used in prisons but targeted exclusively at black and Hispanic children. And third, as high-stakes testing takes on pathological and punitive dimensions, liberal education in our inner-city schools has been increasingly replaced by culturally barren and robotic methods of instruction that would be rejected out of hand by schools that serve the mainstream of society.

Filled with the passionate voices of children and their teachers and some of the most revered and trusted leaders in the black community, The Shame of the Nation is a triumph of firsthand reporting that pays tribute to those undefeated educators who persist against the odds, but directly challenges the chilling practices now being forced upon our urban systems by the Bush administration. In their place, Kozol offers a humane, dramatic challenge to our nation to fulfill at last the promise made some 50 years ago to all our youngest citizens.


From The Shame of the Nation

“I went to Washington to challenge the soft bigotry of low expectations,” the president said in his campaign for reelection in September 2004. “It’s working. It’s making a difference.” It is one of those deadly lies, which, by sheer repetition, is at length accepted by large numbers of Americans as, perhaps, a rough approximation of the truth. But it is not the truth, and it is not an innocent misstatement of the facts. It is a devious appeasement of the heartache of the parents of the poor and, if it is not forcefully resisted and denounced, it is going to lead our nation even further in a perilous direction.


Also available as a Random House AudioBook and an eBook


From the Hardcover edition.
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