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Rikers Island--just six miles from the Empire State Building--is one of the largest, most complex and most expensive penal institutions in the world, yet most New Yorkers couldn't find it on a map.

Jennifer Wynn, the director of the Fresh Start program at Rikers, takes readers into the jails and then back out-to the communities where her students were born and raised. She chronicles their journeys as they struggle to "go straight" and find respect in a city that fears and rejects them.

Part memoir, part social commentary, Inside Rikers details the author's experiences on Rikers. Wynn offers a compelling portrait of its 18,000 inmates and how Rikers was transformed from one of the most violent jails into one of the safest.

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