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Life Without Parole

Living and Dying in Prison Today

Fifth Edition

Victor Hassine
Robert Johnson and Sonia Tabriz

Publication Date - 17 December 2010

ISBN: 9780199774050

196 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

"This is the one book every student of criminal justice should read."--Stephen C. Richards, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh


In 1981, Victor Hassine went to prison. In 2008, he died there. This edition of Hassine's Life Without Parole is no longer just an account of life in confinement; it is the story of life and death behind bars.

Revised and updated throughout, the fifth edition includes:

A new title. In honor of Hassine's legacy, editors Robert Johnson and Sonia Tabriz have given the fifth edition a new subtitle--Living and Dying in Prison Today.

A new format. To create a more fluid narrative, the editors have restructured Hassine's writings to offer a seamless chronicle of his life and death in prison.

New stories. To better convey Hassine's journey, the editors have added three of Hassine's original works of fiction.

A new beginning and ending. The editors have replaced chapter introductions with two new essays bookending Hassine's text, offering insights that complement Hassine's own perceptions.

A new appendix. Editors Robert Johnson and Sonia Tabriz examine the latest developments in the field of penology.

About the Author(s)

Victor Hassine (1955-2008) was an accomplished author of works on crime and punishment. Shortly after graduating from law school, he was convicted of a capital offense and sentenced to prison for life without parole. While incarcerated, Hassine devoted himself to bettering prison conditions for himself and his fellow inmates and strived to promote prison reform through his written works of fiction and nonfiction. Sadly, Victor Hassine committed suicide in April 2008 shortly after being denied a commutation-of-sentence hearing.

Robert Johnson is a Professor of Justice, Law, and Society at American University, Editor of BleakHouse Publishing, and a widely published author of fiction and nonfiction.

Sonia Tabriz is a J.D. candidate and merit scholar at The George Washington University Law School, the Managing Editor of BleakHouse Publishing, and is noted for her creative writing and legal commentaries.

Previous Publication Date(s)

March 2008
August 2003


"Four editions of Victor Hassine's book have earned a place as esteemed contributions to academia, and as reliable teaching tools in prison courses. The revamped posthumous version of the book provides us with a stirring memoir and a vivid memorial to a troubled but admirable life. Hassine's account is redolent with surprising insights and poignant observations, and with occasional touches of humor. It is also a blow-by-blow narrative of a gifted man's effort to transcend life in confinement."--Hans Toch, University at Albany, State University of New York

"For over a decade now, I have considered Hassine's text Life Without Parole to be an essential one in my teaching on corrections and the realities and challenges of this world. The life and death of Victor Hassine epitomizes the full cycle of humanity in our society--with its conflicting message at times of hope and tragedy--and touches upon the themes of justice, race, power, and redemption that are central to our criminal justice system. Hassine's words bring to life the people who work and live behind the walls of a maximum-security prison while simultaneously bringing into the light of day controversial topics for critical discussion in the classroom. Coupled with the thoughtful commentary and background offered by editors Robert Johnson and Sonia Tabriz, this text is a valuable tool that raises the level of discourse of any course related to corrections or public policy."--Denise Paquette Boots, University of Texas at Dallas

"Life Without Parole may be the most authentic prison book ever penned in the English language. This new edition, artfully recast by Johnson and Tabriz, is written in the blood of all the men and women who live in prison cages buried at the end of the world. This is the one book every student of criminal justice should read."--Stephen C. Richards, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

"Life Without Parole charts Victor Hassine's sojourn inside America's dystopian prison system. This latest collection of his work, edited by Robert Johnson and Sonia Tabriz, locates his narrative within an insightful combination of fiction and nonfiction that reinforces the horror of society's worst kept secret and challenges us to change it. Responding to Hassine's runaway train metaphor, Johnson and Tabriz provide incisive commentary that confirms the author's observations and helps illuminate the crippling pattern of alternating hope and fear that attends a prison sentence. In responding to Victor's death, his family observed that he considered his work done when hope withered and died in a prison isolation cell. He would have been comforted to know that his work will continue, left in the capable hands of Robert Johnson and Sonia Tabriz."--Charles Huckelbury, PEN Award Winning Author

Table of Contents

    About this Book
    About the Author
    About the Editors
    "Prison" by Robert Johnson
    "Life Without: Opening Reflections on Living and Dying in Prison Today" by Robert Johnson & Sonia Tabriz
    1. In the Beginning
    2. The Architecture of Fear
    3. Gauntlet of Despair
    4. Staying Sane
    5. Things Missed
    6. Playing the Opposites
    7. Politics of Persecution
    8. Society of Captives
    9. Friends in Low Places
    10. A Kingdom Remembered
    11. Battle in the Big House
    12. Prisons Old, Prisons New
    13. Modern Ghost Towns
    14. The Runaway Train
    15. Stories from the Inside
    "Death Without: Closing Reflections on Living and Dying in Prison Today" by Robert Johnson & Sonia Tabriz
    Hassine's Life Without Parole in Criminological Perspective
    Recommended Readings

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