Chokeholding the “Chokehold:” Banning the Book on Criminal Injustice

In March , Arizona Department of Corrections banned Paul Butler’s book, “Chokehold: Policing Black Men,” about the subjugation of black men in the American criminal justice system because of its potential to disturb control and order in its prison system.

Mr. Butler, a law professor at Georgetown University and a former federal prosecutor, said he understood officials’ concerns about keeping people safe in prisons.  He also said, “I found the ban somewhat ironic because it’s kind of supporting the thesis.”  In his no-holds-barred style, Butler uses new data to demonstrate that white men commit the majority of violent crimes in the United States and he has controversial recommendations that are sure to be game-changers in the national debate about policing, criminal justice, and race relations.  Author Paul Butler

The ban on his book is similar to the ban on, “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration on the Age of Colorblindness,” by Michelle Alexander, another top selling book about the caste-like system in the United States resulting in millions of African Americans locked behind bars, then relegated to a permanent second-class status.   Why are American prisons so afraid of this book? 

“Chokehold” was published by the New Press, a Manhattan-based publisher, in 2017. Its title refers to the  maneuver that police officers when Eric Garner, 43, died on Staten Island in 2014.


Paul Butler: The New Press


Michelle Alexander:  The New Jim Crow

For in depth story on the ban of the book, see:  NPR – Arizona Prisons Urged To Reverse Ban On ‘Chokehold’ Book and NY Times – Arizona Prisons’ Ban on Book About Racism in Criminal Justice Draws Challenge.




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