Newjack : A Year as a Prison Guard in New York's Most Infamous Maximum Security Jail

3.94 (3,028 ratings by Goodreads)
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After he was denied access to report on Sing Sing, one of America's most notorious high security jails, journalist Ted Conover applied to become a prison guard. As a rookie officer, or 'newjack', Conover spent a year in the unpredictable, intimidating and often violent world of America's penal system. Unarmed and outnumbered, prison officers at one of America's toughest maximum security jails supervise 1,800 inmates, most of whom have been convicted of violent felonies: murder, manslaughter, and rape. Prisoners conceal makeshift weapons to settle gang rivalries or old grudges, and officers are often attacked or caught in the crossfire. When violence flares up in the galleries or yard an officer's day can go from mundane to terrifying in a heartbeat. Conover is an acclaimed journalist, known for immersing himself completely in a situation in order to write about it. With remarkable insight, "Newjack" takes the reader as close to experiencing life in an American prison as any of us would ever want to get. It's a thrillingly told account of how the gruelling world of the prison system brutalizes all who enter it - prison guards and prisoners more

Product details

  • Paperback | 352 pages
  • 126 x 198 x 24mm | 281.23g
  • Ebury Publishing
  • Ebury Press
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0091940958
  • 9780091940959
  • 156,941

Flap copy

Acclaimed journalist Ted Conover sets a new standard for bold, in-depth reporting in this first-hand account of life inside the penal system. When Conover's request to shadow a recruit at the New York State Corrections Officer Academy was denied, he decided to apply for a job as a prison officer. So begins his odyssey at Sing Sing, once a model prison but now the state's most troubled maximum-security facility. The result of his year there is this remarkable look at one of America's most dangerous prisons, where drugs, gang wars, and sex are rampant, and where the line between violator and violated is often unclear. As sobering as it is suspenseful, Newjack is an indispensable contribution to the urgent debate about our country's criminal justice system, and a consistently fascinating more

Review quote

"Newjack is about as good as it gets - by turns gripping, funny, frightening and sad" The Washington Post "[A] mind-blowing example of journalism at its most authentic, Conover discovers that prison can bring out the animal in any man" Entertainment Weekly "Conover is to be commended for having the chops to venture where few others would dare to go" Los Angeles Times "Pretty damned amazing...entirely gripping and powerful" -- Sherman Alexie "Riveting" Maximshow more

About Ted Conover

Ted Conover is a writer best known for his participatory investigations: riding the rails with tramps, traveling with the Mexican undocumented, and working at Sing Sing prison. Two of his previous books, Whiteout and Coyotes, were named Notable Books of the Year by The New York Times. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Guardian, and many other publications. He teaches at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute of New York University. Further information can be found at more

Review Text

"Newjack is about as good as it gets - by turns gripping, funny, frightening and sad"show more

Rating details

3,028 ratings
3.94 out of 5 stars
5 27% (818)
4 46% (1,395)
3 23% (684)
2 4% (106)
1 1% (25)
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