Break Every Yoke starts by declaring that the US is a prison nation. Not only does it incarcerate more than most other countries, but—drawing on Michel Foucault (Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, London: Penguin, 1977), Stanley Cohen (Visions of Social Control: Crime, Punishment and Classification, Cambridge: Polity Press, 1985) and others—the idea of imprisonment reaches everyone and everywhere in a social control web. As Joshua Dubler and Vincent Lloyd suggest, ‘a network of ideas, feelings, and practices around the institution of the prison pervades American culture … Not all are equally impacted, but not one of us goes untouched’ (p. 1). According to the authors, ‘[t]he prison is a particularly American problem, and America is particularly—peculiarly—religious’ (p. 1). My initial thought on reading this was that correlation does not necessarily equal causation; yet in this fascinating book the authors make a convincing argument that religion—particularly Christian religion—has had an influence on America’s desire to punish and this has resulted in mass incarceration.
- penal theory
- Christian ethics