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Charles Shaw
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Entries by Charles Shaw

Chasing Amy: Prohibition & the Infantilization Of Addiction

(9) Comments | Posted July 31, 2011 | 2:00 PM

I did not know Amy Winehouse. I never met her, never heard any of her music, and was not a "fan." None of that seemed to matter when forming an opinion of her. What I did know about her was what I felt I was permitted to know, that she...

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Hurricane Katrina and the Lost Prisoners of New Orleans

(1) Comments | Posted April 20, 2010 | 4:56 PM

The following essay, "Katrina's Unscheduled Visit," is adapted from Exile Nation: Drugs, Prisons, Politics & Spirituality (2009, Reality Sandwich), Charles Shaw's critically-acclaimed memoir of prison and the drug war, running weekly on Reality Sandwich.


On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast....

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Malcolm X, Morpheus and Mos Def: Postindustrial Prison Politics

(7) Comments | Posted March 31, 2010 | 1:35 PM

The following essay is adapted from Exile Nation: Drugs, Prisons, Politics & Spirituality (2009, Reality Sandwich), Charles Shaw's riveting memoir of the drug war, running weekly on Reality Sandwich.


Before I left for prison, in the months I was languishing on house-arrest, many of my...

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How Drugs and Prisons Became Replacement Economies

(2) Comments | Posted February 4, 2010 | 4:34 PM

The following is excerpted from Chapter Three of Exile Nation: Drugs, Prisons, Politics & Spirituality, the explosive new book by Charles Shaw, appearing weekly throughout 2010 on Reality Sandwich.

Nestled among the trees on a prime hilltop just east of the Mississippi River in the Quad Cities...

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Inside the Illinois Prison Known as "Hotel Hell"

(3) Comments | Posted January 8, 2010 | 4:05 PM

The following is excerpted from Exile Nation: Drugs, Prisons, Politics & Spirituality, the explosive new book by Charles Shaw, appearing weekly throughout 2010 on Reality Sandwich. The first excerpt focused on the Cook County Jail in Chicago. This excerpt from Chapter Two begins inside the Illinois...

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Exile Nation: Drugs, Prisons, Politics & Spirituality

(18) Comments | Posted December 17, 2009 | 5:11 PM

The follow excerpt is taken from Exile Nation: Drugs, Prisons, Politics, & Spirituality, by Charles Shaw (2009, Reality Sandwich)

"Dead Time"

The Cook County Jail is part of the Cook County Department of Corrections, a sprawling 96-acre detention complex situated next to the Cook County Criminal...

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Empty Prison in Struggling Illinois Town Might Be Next Gitmo

(1) Comments | Posted November 18, 2009 | 2:07 PM

As the Obama Administration looks at transferring "detainees" from Guantanamo Bay to a prison facility within the continental US, a political furor has erupted that pits economically devastated rural America against the fear-mongering of metropolitan Republicans intent on covering their collective asses and reclaiming their lost mantle of power.

The...

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"Kettling": Another "Special Relationship" Between The US And UK

(4) Comments | Posted April 21, 2009 | 12:22 PM

Since London and New York share so much, it will probably come as no surprise to Britons that "kettling"-- the police practice of cordoning off city blocks at both ends and containing protesters for hours before arresting them for all intents and purposes -- had its US...

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The Perfect Crash Course in The Economy

(6) Comments | Posted February 25, 2009 | 11:08 AM

By now people all across the nation (and around the world) are beginning to wake up from the string of roundhouse-kicks-to-the-head they have received as they watched the economy collapse. By now the bandits have all ridden out of town, while the Sheriff and his posse sat by and watched...

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Chicago: A Tale of Two Cities

(29) Comments | Posted December 16, 2008 | 5:25 PM

There have always been at least two Chicago's wrestling within America's great heartland metropolis. The election of Barack Obama and the recent arrest of Governor Rod Blagojevich have once again shown how the city's angels are never far away from its demons. The iconic struggles of race, class and culture...

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What Will Happen to the "Unitary Executive" in the Next Presidential Term?

(15) Comments | Posted June 30, 2008 | 11:21 AM

What if you learned that there were no longer three co-equal branches of government, that the Executive Branch now held powers that could not be checked by Congress or the Courts? Aside from the controversy surrounding "signing statements," what if the President could legally ignore every law that Congress passed?...

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Viewing Consumer Culture Through the Lens of Addiction

(3) Comments | Posted June 6, 2008 | 4:45 PM

"An addict is someone who uses their body to tell society that something is wrong." --Stella Adler (1901-1992)

In last year's powerful independent documentary, What A Way To Go: Life at the End of Empire, producer Sally Erickson pulled from her 20 years working as a therapist in private...

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