Book Review: Intersecting Lives: How Place Shapes Reentry by Andrea Leverentz

Published date01 May 2024
AuthorJerry Flores
Date01 May 2024
Subject MatterBook Reviews
Walker asks,Was there a lesson in all our tribulation?Is that what jail is one big lesson?
To which he answers, Ididntlearnadammedthing(p. 235). He says this, of course,
before recounting what he learnedabout race relations, about social organization,
about how people live together under the worst conditions. But he refuses to make a the-
odicy out of jail life. The existence of structurehe says, is not evidenceof purpose(p.
236). In doing so, he reminds us of the wisdom of the books analytic strategy and the
lyrical approach he took to rendering the world that he found.
Indef‌inite is a new classic that represents the best of general social theory, ethnog-
raphy, race-making, and to what careful attention to the body, and to emotions, and to
ones relationship with time might reveal about the world we have made. It has
already won numerous awards and is deserving of far more. Students of the human con-
dition will benef‌it from its careful study for years to come.
Kaeble D (2021) Time served in state prison, 2018. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice,
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Nietzsche F (1998) On the genealogy of morality. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Company
Wacquant Loïc (2022) Bourdieu in the city: Challenging urban theory. Cambridge, UK: John
Wiley and Sons.
Andrea Leverentz, Intersecting Lives: How Place Shapes Reentry, University of California Press:
Berkeley, 2022; 270 pp.: 9780520379435, $29.95 (pbk)
Reviewed by: Jerry Flores, University of Toronto, Canada
Intersecting Lives discusses the experiences of previously incarcerated people from the
Boston area returning to their respective neighborhoods and small towns, and how neigh-
bors perceive criminalized residents who want to come back to the community. Leverentz
focuses on the experiences of people released from one of three detention facilities in the
Boston area, and what it is like for residents of local communities that tend to receive
large numbers of previously incarcerated people. Using approximately 100 interviews
with 84 residents across these various communities, Leverentz asks the following
research questions: what are the experiences of previously incarcerated people reentering
their communities, and those of other residents in these neighborhoods? What are their
perspectives of the roles formerly incarcerated people play in neighborhoods? Did they
share a similar sense of neighborhood life or neighborhood identity? Through these ques-
tions, Leverentz is trying to help people understand how people experience place, and
how this is shaped by their social positions and previous status as incarcerated
persons, as well as by their race, class, and gender.
The beginning of Intersecting Lives explores the f‌luidity of stigmatized identity, and
the power of narratives to shift individual and community wide perceptions. Most of the
people interviewed had been previously incarcerated, and many had histories of involve-
ment in other government institutions like social services or the foster care system,
258 Theoretical Criminology 28(2)

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