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This book as originally conceived was aimed at the legal community - lawyers, law students, and judges. As various people read the early drafts, I was encouraged to be more ambitious in my intended audience. Writing for both the legal and larger communities poses certain difficulties. In writing about the law for a legal audience one feels constrained to engage in a form of analysis which generations of law students have had instilled in them as 'the way lawyers think,' in contrast to the way the rest of the world thinks. This sounds elitist, and by and large it is. The fact remains that lawyers do engage in a highly distinctive form of analysis. The parts of this book that describe legal arguments and court decisions relating to 'cruel and unusual punishment,' 'due process of law,' and 'principles of fundamental justice' conform to this distinctive analytic model in order to enable lawyers who read this book to follow and assess the arguments arid decisions within the contours of legal scholarship. However, I have sought to provide enough background to the legal arguments to allow other readers to understand and assess the nature, development, and adequacy of principles and processes that have been designed, primarily by lawyers, to protect the individual against the abuse of state power.

Not all of the book is written in the way lawyers typically write about the law. Much of it is about life beyond the law, life in the deepest reaches of maximum-security penitentiaries. In these sections, lawyers will find little to make them comfortable, least of all the impersonal quality that characterizes most legal writing. I make no apologies for this. One of the central themes of the prisoners' experiences described in this book - through their own evidence in the courtroom and their letters from prison - is that carceral practices surrounding solitary confinement reduce prisoners to something less than human beings. This book is intended to provide those concerned about rights an opportunity to confront the reality of prisoners' lives and to reflect on their own role and responsibility in the face of that reality. Such reflection is not an impersonal process. Neither are the description and analysis that inform it.

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