Award-winning journalist Scott Thomas Anderson is looking to fund a new book on the link between perpetual prison culture and corners of the American justice system the public rarely hears about.
Prison culture is an entity that feeds itself with rage, indifference and the force of addiction. It is a culture that’s born in the streets, germinates behind bars, and then flows back into neighborhoods as ongoing cycles of victimization.
The U.S. currently has the most overcrowded prisons in the world; some states are combating the legal and political fallout from this reality by enacting new experiments for handling criminals. But behind the clichéd expressions from lawmakers, oversimplified narratives from officials and fragmented reporting by the media, truths around America’s justice system lie out of sight for most citizens, purposefully hidden behind curtains of overwhelming failure. Many who work within the system understand its veiled dysfunction comes not only from the confusing nature of criminality, but also from laws tied more to bureaucratic advantage and financial gain than the truth of what’s happening in the streets.
Anderson’s Kickstarter project, “The Cutting Four-piece,” is a new journalistic approach in telling that story. And it is not the reporter’s first go-around with crowd funding. Between 2010 and 2011, Anderson spent 18 months as an embedded reporter with law enforcement for his book, “Shadow People,” which chronicles the ties between methamphetamine addiction and crimes against the innocent. A national journalism grant and successful campaign on Kickstarter get “Shadow People” helped bring “Shadow People” to the public as book and e-book. For “The Cutting Four-piece,” Anderson added to his experience by spending an additional 210 hours embedded time with police officers and detectives – though he also broadened the storytelling lens by spending nearly an equal amount of time with convicts, ex-convicts, drug addicts and men and women recovering from lives rattled by violence, exploitation and addiction.
Anderson is the winner of several California state journalism awards and a national journalism fellowship. To get involved with the Kickstarter campaign for “The Cutting Four-piece,” visit: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/364286449/the-cutting-four-piece-the-nexus-of-crime-and-pris?ref=category_recommended