Baker & Taylor More than two million people are incarcerated in America’s prisons—one in nine is serving a life sentence. Mass long-term imprisonment devours state budgets, adversely affects community well-being and skews our collective moral compass. This study examines the human costs of keeping the convicted out of sight, out of mind. Beginning in 1994, the author began recording the personal stories of 50 incarcerated felons—17 of them were still in prison 20 years later. The men candidly discuss what it means to commit a serious crime and to be confined for perhaps the remainder of their lives. Their stories are balanced by conversations with correctional officers, prison administrators, chaplains and parole board members. The author identifies circumstances that ruin some prisoners and save others and presents insights for possible improvements in the criminal justice system.