Sunday, March 29, 2009

Dreams From The Monster Factory

Dreams From The Monster Factory

Sunny Schwartz

5 out of 5

Sunny Schwartz spent 27 years in the California Criminal Justice System. Starting as a lowly law advocate and ending up heading a revolutionary program called RSVP (Resolve to Stop the Violence Project), Sunny takes you though her passion for reform in the jail system.

Sunny is not the typical person that would come to mind when groundbreaking programs are announced. Sunny was always in the remedial programs at school, didn’t go to college, but somehow was accepted into law school.

Through Sunny you see the San Francisco Jails, the monster factories - a place where you learn how to be a better criminal, and the incarcerated that call it home. She has decided that the circle of violence needs to be addressed and that is what she does.
Though most of the book focuses on the rosy picture of cutting the recidivism for violent re-arrests by up to 80 percent the reader begins to doubt the accuracy in those numbers, it isn’t until the end where you see that those that are returned to their environs that they return to their old ways. They may not be rearrested for violent crimes, but they are rearrested for drugs, robbery, etc.

What makes this book so fascinating is Sunny’s passion, her drive to make just one persons life better, it might be her own, or her coworkers, or even a convicted felon, but if you can just make a little bit of difference you can change the life of a person.

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