Dreams from the Monster Factory
A Tale of Prison, Redemption, and One Woman's Fight to Restore Justice to All
Dreams from the Monster Factory tells the true story of Sunny Schwartz's extraordinary work in the criminal justice system and how her profound belief in people's ability to change is transforming the San Francisco jails and the criminals incarcerated there. With an immediacy made possible by a twenty-seven-year career, Schwartz immerses the reader in the troubling and complex realities of U.S. jails, the monster factories -- places that foster violence, rage and, ultimately, better criminals. But by working in the monster factories, Schwartz also discovered her dream of a criminal justice system that empowers victims and reforms criminals.
Charismatic and deeply compassionate, Sunny Schwartz grew up on Chicago's south side in the 1960s. She fought with her family, struggled through school and floundered as she tried to make something of herself. Bucking expectations of failure, she applied to a law school that didn't require a college degree, passed the bar and began her life's work in the criminal justice system. Eventually she grew disheartened by the broken, inflexible system, but instead of quitting, she reinvented it, making jail a place that could change people for the better.
In 1997, Sunny launched the Resolve to Stop the Violence Project (RSVP), a groundbreaking program for the San Francisco Sheriff 's Department. RSVP, which has cut recidivism for violent rearrests by up to 80 percent, brings together victims and offenders in a unique correctional program that empowers victims and requires offenders to take true responsibility for their actions and eliminate their violent behavior.
Sunny Schwartz's faith in humanity, her compassion and her vision are inspiring. In Dreams from the Monster Factory she goes beyond statistics and sensational portrayals of prison life to offer an intimate, harrowing and revelatory chronicle of crime, punishment and, ultimately, redemption.
- Scribner, January 2009
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