Stolen Wealth, Hidden Power: The Case for Reparations for Mass Incarceration
A meticulous and exhaustive accounting of the total economic devastation wreaked on Black communities by mass incarceration with an action guide for vital reparations.
Stolen Wealth, Hidden Power is a staggering account of the destruction wrought by mass incarceration. Finding that the economic value of the damages to Black individuals, families, and communities totals $7.16 trillion—roughly 86 percent of the current Black–White wealth gap—this compelling and exhaustive analysis puts unprecedented empirical heft behind an urgent call for reparations.
Much of the damage of mass incarceration, Tasseli McKay finds, has been silently absorbed by families and communities of the incarcerated—where it is often compensated for by women’s invisible labor. Four decades of state-sponsored violence have destroyed the health, economic potential, and political power of Black Americans across generations. Grounded in principles of transitional justice that have guided other nations in moving past eras of state violence, Stolen Wealth, Hidden Power presents a comprehensive framework for how to begin intensive individual and institutional reparations. The extent of mass incarceration’s racialized harms, estimated here with new rigor and scope, points to the urgency of this work and the possibilities that lie beyond it.
About the Author
Tasseli McKay is a National Science Foundation postdoctoral research fellow at Duke University and an affiliate of RTI International. She holds a doctorate in social policy from the London School of Economics and is lead author of Holding On: Family and Fatherhood during Incarceration and Reentry.
Praise for Stolen Wealth, Hidden Power: The Case for Reparations for Mass Incarceration
"An eloquent and impressively detailed argument for repairing a grave injustice."
— Publishers Weekly
"The case for reparations is not about guilt or blame but a shared morality about justice for the sins and harms the US inflicted through government actions, including enslavement, redlining, eminent domain, and racial discrimination. McKay makes a convincing case."
"A phenomenal read for those in privilege and those in peril."
— Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Books