Buy Aya Gruber's Book on Carceral Feminism

Aya Gruber’s New Book on Feminism and Mass Incarceration

The Feminist War on Crime tells the fascinating story how feminists, in their quest to secure women’s protection from domestic violence and rape, became soldiers in the war on crime and contributors to mass incarceration.  It sketches a path forward for young women, activists, and lawmakers to oppose violence against women without reinforcing the American prison state.

"Gruber offers an exciting and brave book that tackles the cause and effect between gender-based violence, mass incarceration, and a broken legal system."

PEN America

“This interesting, densely written, challenging book illustrates the phenomenon of unintended consequences. . . . Following from Gruber’s main point that now is the time to recognize that incarceration is not a solution, the state should concentrate on increasing the resources available to women affected by domestic violence, sexual assault, and rape. . . . Highly recommended.”


“Gruber brings to light the ties between feminist movements and mass incarceration in this deeply researched, timely analysis."

Library Journal

“Gruber  . . . not only diagnoses what’s wrong with mainstream, carceral feminism but also helps us plot a way forward."

The Baffler

“Gruber has made an important challenge to the prevailing orthodoxy regarding sexual violence, one that will be informative (and, hopefully, persuasive) to radicals, conservatives, and moderates alike.”

Law and Liberty 

The Feminist War on Crime is a brave and persuasive reckoning of what happened when sexual politics met mass incarceration. Gruber takes on both progressives and conservatives like the brilliant scholar she is and the street-smart public defender she used to be. This is the rare important book that is a joy to read. Highly opinionated and super provocative, this book will inspire some great arguments and a transformative approach to criminal justice.

Paul ButlerAuthor of Chokehold: Policing Black Men

Gruber’s depth of knowledge, suppleness of mind, and unparalleled vibrancy are on full display in this important and ambitious book, which spotlights the role of feminist debates in the complicated politics of mass incarceration. A trenchant and wide-ranging critique.

Jeannie Suk GersenProfessor of Law at Harvard Law School

A riveting exposition and devastating critique of the ways in which feminists became foot soldiers in the late twentieth-century war on crime. Aya Gruber provides a cultural and legal genealogy of carceral feminism that is powerfully argued and utterly convincing. At a time when a new generation of feminists must confront the political challenges posed by both sexual violence and mass incarceration, this is a bold, provocative, and necessary book.

Elizabeth BernsteinProfessor of Sociology and of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Barnard College, Columbia University

This deeply researched yet accessible book tells the story of American feminists as, time after time, they resist—then settle for—carceral answers to the problem of intimate violence. Gruber urges #MeToo millennials not to once again succumb to the pleasures of punishment, but rather to ‘just say no’ to the criminal justice state. Whip smart and passionate, expertly weaving together critical race feminism, media analysis, and her own experience as a public defender, Gruber gives us feminist criminal policy for an intersectional age.

Angela HarrisDistinguished Professor of Law, University of California, Davis