The Social Impact of Mass Incarceration in the Twenty-First Century

Vol. 51 No. 4


Jennifer R. Wynn is an assistant professor of criminal justice at LaGuardia Community College and a member of the graduate faculty at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She has 15 years experience as a researcher and practitioner and currently serves as a mitigation specialist on death penalty cases.

I first entered Rikers Island in 1991 as a journalist to interview a prisoner. Although Rikers Island lies just six miles from midtown Manhattan, it took me one subway ride, two buses, clearance through numerous metal detectors, and two pat frisks before I arrived in the visiting room of the world’s largest penal colony—nearly two hours later. I swore I would never return.

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