Carceral Apartheid

How Lies and White Supremacists Run Our Prisons

By Brittany Friedman

Carceral Apartheid

Approx. 224 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 11 halftones, 3 tables, appends., notes, index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-8340-9
    Published: December 2024
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-8339-3
    Published: December 2024

Justice, Power, and Politics

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It is impossible to deny the impact of lies and white supremacy on the institutional conditions in US prisons. There is a particular power dynamic of racist intent in the prison system that culminates in what Brittany Friedman terms "carceral apartheid." Prisons are a microcosm of how carceral apartheid operates as a larger governing strategy to decimate political targets and foster deceit, disinformation, and division in society.

Among many shocking discoveries, Friedman shows that beginning in the 1950s, California prison officials declared war on imprisoned Black people and sought to identify Black militants as a key problem, creating a strategy for the management, segregation, and elimination of these individuals from the prison population that continues into the present day. Carceral Apartheid delves into how the California Department of Corrections deployed various official, clandestine, and at times extralegal control techniques, including officer alliances with imprisoned white supremacists, to suppress Black political movements, revealing the broader themes of deception, empire, corruption, and white supremacy in American mass incarceration. Drawing from original interviews with founders of Black political movements such as the Black Guerilla Family, white supremacists, and a swath of little-known archival data, Friedman uncovers how the US domestic war against imprisoned Black people models and perpetuates genocide, imprisonment, and torture abroad.

About the Author

Brittany Friedman is assistant professor of sociology at the University of Southern California.

For more information about Brittany Friedman, visit the Author Page.


"A pathbreaking work full of explosive findings on the coordination of white supremacy, corrections, policing, and the lies to cover it up. Carceral Apartheid will shock readers and make headlines."—Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve, author of Crook County: Racism and Injustice in America's Largest Criminal Court

"Brittany Friedman's concept of carceral apartheid lays the groundwork for a new way of understanding racism within American prisons and the deployment of racism and empire as a governing strategy of society."—Michael L. Walker, author of Indefinite: Doing Time in Jail