The term “incarceration” often conjures up a familiar motif. Popular television and digital media programming such as Oz, Prison Break, and Orange Is the New Black rely on a commonsense understanding of prison as being a place that holds the vile and immoral. According to narratives drawn from these shows, prison is not a place that is violent because people are locked in cages for more hours than they are not, denied basic human rights, and forcibly removed from their communities; rather, the programs reinforce the notion that people housed within prison are some of the most violent creatures on the planet and thus create an environment of extreme violence. While the entertainment version of incarceration is filled with drama and a clear sense of hero and villain, the reality of incarceration is quite the opposite: mundane and layered in nuance that very often blurs the distinctions between right and wrong.

This essay may be found on page 97 of the printed volume.

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