James Kilgore is an activist, researcher, and writer based in Urbana, Illinois, where he has lived since paroling from prison in 2009. He is the director of the Challenging E-Carceration project at MediaJustice and the co-director of FirstFollowers Reentry Program in Champaign, Illinois. He is the author of five books, including Understanding E-Carceration and the award-winning Understanding Mass Incarceration (both from The New Press).
Praise for Understanding
"Kilgore presents a devastating critique of policy tools like electronic monitoring that masquerade as meaningful alternatives to incarceration but offer little hope for a more just and humane future. There is a more promising way forward and this necessary and insightful book helps us to see the path more clearly."
-Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow
"Essential reading. A powerful precautionary tale about how big
data and technology can undermine the kind of society we want to
-Elizabeth Hinton, author of From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime and America on Fire
"Uncovers the truth behind the digital smokescreen, revealing how the intimate details of people's lives are devoured, digested, and used to deepen social control in the name of public safety and prison reform."
-Ruha Benjamin, professor of African American studies at Princeton University and founding director of the IDA B. WELLS Just Data Lab
"Kilgore warns us that the surveillance state is forever upgrading tech to expand its reach. He carefully explains the harms of carceral technology and invites us to work for an abolitionist future."
-Naomi Murakawa, associate professor of African American studies at Princeton University
"An incisive, thoroughly researched, and utterly frightening investigation into how technology, posing as reform, is expanding our prison nation into systems of hybrid punishment."
-Victoria Law, author of Prison by Any Other Name and "Prisons Make us Safer": And 20 Other Myths about Mass Incarceration
"Kilgore's straightforward prose and clear explanations expose the police state's relentless expansion into every corner of vulnerable lives. Who pays? Who benefits? Read this book."
-Ruth Wilson Gilmore, author of Change Everything and Golden Gulag
"When I introduced the term e-carceration in 2015, I never imagined the extent to which technology would expand mass incarceration. James Kilgore did. This book offers a re-imagined future for civil rights and abolition in a digital age."
-Malkia Devich-Cyril, founding director of the Center for Media Justice