Race to Incarcerate

A Graphic Retelling

Marc Mauer’s landmark book on race, class, and the criminal justice system adapted as a work of inspired graphic storytelling by Sabrina Jones

“Do not underestimate the power of the book you are holding in your hands.” —Michelle Alexander

Selected, YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens list

More than 2 million people are now imprisoned in the United States, producing the highest rate of incarceration in the world. How did this happen? As the director of The Sentencing Project, Marc Mauer has long been one of the country’s foremost experts on sentencing policy, race, and the criminal justice system. His book Race to Incarcerate has become the essential text for understanding the exponential growth of the U.S. prison system; Michelle Alexander, author of the bestselling The New Jim Crow, calls it “utterly indispensable.” Now, Sabrina Jones, a member of the World War 3 Illustrated collective and an acclaimed author of politically engaged comics, has collaborated with Mauer to adapt and update the original book into a vivid and compelling comics narrative. Jones’s dramatic artwork adds passion and compassion to the complex story of the penal system’s shift from rehabilitation to punishment and the ensuing four decades of prison expansion, its interplay with the devastating “War on Drugs,” and its corrosive effect on generations of Americans.

With a preface by Mauer and a foreword by Alexander, Race to Incarcerate: A Graphic Retelling presents a compelling argument about mass incarceration’s tragic impact on communities of color—if current trends continue, one of every three black males and one of every six Latino males born today can expect to do time in prison. The race to incarcerate is not only a failed social policy, but also one that prevents a just, diverse society from flourishing.


“Its political and cultural immediacy makes this an excellent title for adults interested in social issues as well as for college students, teens, and tweens. It also serves as a bridge to Mauer’s original edition, since skillful black-and-white visuals from Jones add clarity and vividness to complex issues.”
Library Journal
“The perfect antidote to the silence in textbooks about the prison-industrial complex in the United States.”
Rethinking Schools
“Jones channels the tradition of liberal-Left political cartooning to give this graphic documentary a dynamic, woodcut-like look that galvanizes its adaptation. . . . With Jones’ inspirational help, this version has plenty of punch. Terrific for current-events teaching, too.”
“A striking graphic novel. . . . Jones’ grim yet lively art accentuates every argument.”
“Sabrina Jones transforms Mauer’s history of the criminal justice system into a powerful true crime story—accessible to young readers and people of all ages.”
“A searing indictment of divisive policies and empty rhetoric.”
Shelf Awareness
“A perfect tool for educating the young and the non-wonkish about the issues involved and the forces involved in that All-American urge to punish. . . . It is a powerful tool for good. ”

News and Reviews

Ava DuVernay’s 13th Features New Press Authors

We are very proud that Ava DuVernay’s Academy Awardnominated documentary 13th features six New Press authors and their books—Miche


Reason reviews Race to Incarcerate

Books by these authors

The Meaning of Life
The Case for Abolishing Life Sentences

Marc Mauer, Ashley Nellis

Invisible Punishment
The Collateral Consequences of Mass Imprisonment

Marc Mauer, Meda Chesney-Lind