In Newjack by Ted Conover, what do you think are the lessons that can be learned from this book?

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sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I'd like to make it clear that the above question is an opinion question.  The lessons that I learned from this book might be different from what another reader thinks.  The key to answering the question is defending what you think.  

One lesson that I learned from the book is that referring to prisons as "rehabilitation centers" is an egregious error.  I'm certain that some inmates are rehabilitated through the prison system, but after reading Conover's book, I no longer assume much rehabilitation is happening.  Near the beginning of the book Conover writes about how the prison system is equivalent to a storage facility for people.  

"Because in reality . . .  rehabilitation is not our job. The truth of it is that we are warehousers of human beings." And the prison was, above all, a storage unit.

The above section of the book really stuck with me as I read the book because it is a very dehumanizing thought.  People put inanimate, non-living things into storage units.  We put things in them that we care about, but we don't care enough about it to have it around us all the time.  That dehumanizing lesson/theme is present throughout the book.  Much of what Conover sees among his fellow guards is that they simply do not view the inmates as people.  This concept really hit home for me when I read that many CO's refer to sick inmates as "bugs" and their medicine as "bug juice."  Conover constantly works to always see the humanity in the men that he is charge of, but it's tough for him as well.  For me, the big lesson from the book is the importance of keeping a person's humanity at the forefront of your mind.  

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