Justice Books

Great reads about prison and the criminal justice system.


Assata: An Autobiography
by Assata Shakur
Becoming Ms. Burton: From Prison to Recovery to Leading the Fight for Incarcerated Women
by Susan Burton
Harley Loco: A Memoir of Hard Living, Hair, and Post-Punk, from the Middle East to the Lower East Side
by Rayya Elias
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
by Bryan Stevenson
Writing My Wrongs: Life, Death, and Redemption in an American Prison
by Andrea James
Upper Bunkies Unite: And Other Thoughts On the Politics of Mass Incarceration
by Shaka Senghor
even-tough-girls Even Tough Girls Wear Tutus: Inside the World of a Woman Born in Prison
by Deborah Jiang Stein
laughing Laughing in the Dark: From Colored Girl to Woman of Color — A Journey from Prison to Power
by Patrice Gaines
doing-life A Woman Doing Life: Notes from a Prison for Women
by Erin George
prison-cell The Man Who Outgrew His Prison Cell: Confessions of a Bank Robber
by Joe Loya
a-question A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age in Prison
by R. Dwayne Betts
wes-moore The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates
by Wes Moore
newjack Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing
by Ted Conover
running Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian
by Avi Steinberg
picking-cotton Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption
by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton with Erin Torneo
larceny Larceny in My Blood: A Memoir of Heroin, Handcuffs, and Higher Education
by Matthew Parker
cooked Cooked: My Journey from the Streets to the Stove
by Jeff Henderson
fish Fish: A Memoir of a Boy in a Man’s Prison
by T.J. Parsell
one-brother-cell Brother One Cell: An American Coming of Age in South Korea’s Prisons
by Cullen Thomas
sanctuary-outcasts In the Sanctuary of Outcasts: A Memoir
by Neil White
low-bite Low Bite
by Sin Soracco


inside-this-place Inside This Place, Not of It: Narratives from Women’s Prisons
A Voice of Witness book edited by Ayelet Waldman and Robin Levi
interrupted-life Interrupted Life: Experiences of Incarcerated Women in the United States
by Tina Reynolds, Rickie Solinger, Paula C. Johnson, Martha L. Raimon, Ruby Tapia, etc.
couldnt-keep Couldn’t Keep It to Myself: Wally Lamb and the Women of York Correctional Institution (Testimonies from our Imprisoned Sisters)
ill-fly-away I’ll Fly Away: Further Testimonies from the Women of York Prison
Edited by Wally Lamb


Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy
by Heather Ann Thompson
Burning Down the House: The End of Juvenile Prison
by Nell Bernstein
Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America
by Jill Leovy
Locked In: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration—and How to Achieve Real Reform
by John Pfaff
new-jim-crow The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
by Michelle Alexander
life-on-outside Life on the Outside: The Prison Odyssey of Elaine Bartlett
by Jennifer Gonnerman
random-family Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx
by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
all-alone All Alone in the World: Children of the Incarcerated
by Nell Bernstein
arrested-justice Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America’s Prison Nation
by Beth E. Richie
inner-lives Inner Lives: Voices of African American Women In Prison
by Paula Johnson
in-the-mix In the Mix: Struggle and Survival in a Women’s Prison
by Barbara Owen
women-behind-bars Women Behind Bars: The Crisis of Women in the U.S. Prison System
by Silja J.A. Talvi
world-apart A World Apart: Women, Prison, and Life Behind Bars
by Cristina Rathbone
texas-tough Texas Tough: The Rise of America’s Prison Empire
by Robert Perkinson