After decades of the American “war on drugs” and relentless prison expansion, political officials are finally challenging mass incarceration. Many point to an apparently promising solution to reduce the prison population: addiction treatment.
In Addicted to Rehab, Bard College sociologist Allison McKim gives an in-depth and innovative ethnographic account of two such rehab programs for women, one located in the criminal justice system and one located in the private healthcare system—two very different ways of defining and treating addiction. McKim’s book shows how addiction rehab reflects the race, class, and gender politics of the punitive turn. As a result, addiction has become a racialized category that has reorganized the link between punishment and welfare provision. While reformers hope that treatment will offer an alternative to punishment and help women, McKim argues that the framework of addiction further stigmatizes criminalized women and undermines our capacity to challenge gendered subordination. Her study ultimately reveals a two-tiered system, bifurcated by race and class.
Alcatraz Screw is a firsthand account from a prison guard’s perspective of some of the most storied years at the infamous U.S. Penitentiary at Alcatraz. George Gregory began his career as a guard for the Federal Bureau of Prisons in 1940. Following his training, he was sent to the federal prison at Sandstone, Minnesota. A few years later he enlisted in the Marine Corps. Badly wounded at Iwo Jima, he returned to Sandstone after a long rehabilitation. When the Bureau of Prisons closed Sandstone in 1947, Gregory was transferred to Alcatraz, which had been a federal penitentiary since 1934.
For the next fifteen years, Gregory worked on “The Rock.” He takes the reader along on a correctional officer’s tour of duty, showing what it was like to pull a lonely, tedious night of sentry duty in the Road Tower, or witness illicit transactions in the clothing room, or forcibly quell a riot in the cell blocks. Gregory provides an insider’s account of the tenures of all four of Alcatraz’s wardens and their sometimes contradictory approaches to administering the institution. He knew and regularly interacted with such legendary inmates as Robert Stroud (the Birdman of Alcatraz) and George “Machine Gun” Kelly.
Without glamorizing or demonizing either the staff or the convicts, Alcatraz Screw provides a candid portrayal of corruption, drug abuse, and sexual practices, as well as efforts at reform and unrecorded acts of kindness. Various incidents in the memoir convey the fear, hatred, frustration, boredom, and unavoidable tension of being incarcerated. With the inclusion of maps and diagrams of Alcatraz Island, as well as photographs of inmates, officers, and the prison itself, this book offers insight into life at the notorious Alcatraz from an unprecedented perspective.
For the past fifty years, America has been extraordinarily busy building prisons. Since 1970 we have tripled the total number of facilities, adding more than 1,200 new prisons to the landscape. This building boom has taken place across the country but is largely concentrated in rural southern towns.
In 2007, John M. Eason moved his family to Forrest City, Arkansas, in search of answers to key questions about this trend: Why is America building so many prisons? Why now? And why in rural areas? Eason quickly learned that rural demand for prisons is complicated. Towns like Forrest City choose to build prisons not simply in hopes of landing jobs or economic wellbeing, but also to protect and improve their reputations. For some rural leaders, fostering a prison in their town is a means of achieving order in a rapidly changing world. Taking us into the decision-making meetings and tracking the impact of prisons on economic development, poverty, and race, Eason demonstrates how groups of elite whites and black leaders share power. Situating prisons within dynamic shifts that rural economies are undergoing and showing how racially diverse communities lobby for prison construction, Big House on the Prairie is a remarkable glimpse into the ways a prison economy takes shape and operates.
In the 1980s a poor farmer's son from Recife, Brazil, joined the Brazilian navy and began selling cocaine. After his arrest in Rio de Janeiro he spent the next eight years in prison, where he joined the Comando Vermelho criminal faction and eventually became one of its leaders. Robert Gay tells this young man's dramatic and captivating story in Bruno. In his shockingly candid interviews with Gay, Bruno provides many insights into the criminal world in which he lived: details of day-to-day prison life; the inner workings of the Brazilian drug trade; the structure of criminal factions; and the complexities of the relationships and links between the prisons, drug trade, gangs, police, and favelas. And most stunningly, Bruno's story suggests that Brazilian mismanagement of the prison system directly led to the Comando Vermelho and other criminal factions' expansion into Rio's favelas, where their turf wars and battles with police have terrorized the city for over two decades.
Over the centuries Americans have turned to torture during moments of crisis, and have debated its legitimacy and efficacy in defense of law and order. Tracing these historical attempts to adapt torture to democratic values, Fitzhugh Brundage reveals the recurring struggle over what limits Americans are willing to impose on the power of the state.
Over the years, American colleges and universities have made various efforts to provide prisoners with access to education. However, few of these outreach programs presume that incarcerated men and women can rise to the challenge of a truly rigorous college curriculum. The Bard Prison Initiative is different.
College in Prison chronicles how, since 2001, Bard College has provided hundreds of incarcerated men and women across the country access to a high-quality liberal arts education. Earning degrees in subjects ranging from Mandarin to advanced mathematics, graduates have, upon release, gone on to rewarding careers and elite graduate and professional programs. Yet this is more than just a story of exceptional individuals triumphing against the odds. It is a study in how the liberal arts can alter the landscape of some of our most important public institutions giving people from all walks of life a chance to enrich their minds and expand their opportunities.
Drawing on fifteen years of experience as a director of and teacher within the Bard Prison Initiative, Daniel Karpowitz tells the story of BPI’s development from a small pilot project to a nationwide network. At the same time, he recounts dramatic scenes from in and around college-in-prison classrooms pinpointing the contested meanings that emerge in moments of highly-charged reading, writing, and public speaking. Through examining the transformative encounter between two characteristically American institutions—the undergraduate college and the modern penitentiary—College in Prison makes a powerful case for why liberal arts education is still vital to the future of democracy in the United States.
America's prison population has quadrupled in the past two decades, with an enormous impact on families, communities, correctional officers, policy makers, and prisoners themselves. The use of imprisonment as a means of social control has come to the fore in many public debates—whether the issues be deterrence, incapacitation, public spending, overcrowding, or the effects of imprisonment on the offenders' later lives. Prisons addresses these and related topics, offering thought-provoking analyses of particular issues that deserve greater consideration, such as the effects of imprisonment on the children of inmates, the relationship between prisons and the surrounding communities, medical care in prisons, prisoner suicide and coping, adult correctional treatment, and prison management trends, and related topics.
Featuring articles by Alfred Blumstein and Allen Beck, Joan Petersilia, Anthony Bottoms, Douglas McDonald and others, Prisons provides reliable, up-to-date, and comprehensive overviews of policy issues and research developments concerning prisons and imprisonment. This timely collection of essays will benefit scholars, administrators, and policy makers alike.
The Criminally Insane is the largest scale in-depth follow-up study on mentally ill criminals yet to appear. This book challenges the assumption that inmates of maximum-security mental hospitals are extraordinarily violent and questions the necessity for maintaining maximum-security institutions which currently house some 15,000 persons in the United States.
In 1971, 586 patients were released from a Pennsylvania maximum-security hospital for the criminally insane. They were not considered officially "cured," but a federal court held that their commitments had been unconstitutional. Through exhaustive examination of hospital and police records and interviews with hospital administrators and the subjects themselves, Thornberry and Jacoby assess the processes by which the patients had been retained in confinement, the impact of their release upon their communities, and their ability to adjust to the freedom of community life.
The authors demonstrate that the patients did not display a significant level of violent behavior during confinement, nor did they pose a major threat to society after release. In fact, their social and psychological adjustment to community life is shown to have been comparable to that of non-criminal mental patients. Yet despite these findings the subjects had been retained in maximum-security confinement for an average of fourteen years because they were predicted to be violent and "dangerous" to society. The authors explain this inaccuracy by a process called "political prediction," in which clinicians avoid any potential risks to the community, the reputation of their hospitals, and their careers by consistently overpredicting dangerous behavior.
The Criminally Insane will stimulate response from professionals in a wide variety of fields, including law, criminology, psychiatry, and sociology, and from anyone concerned with society's responsibility to the mentally ill offender.
The Criminals of Lima and Their Worlds is the first major historical study of the creation and development of the prison system in Peru. Carlos Aguirre examines the evolution of prisons for male criminals in Lima from the conception—in the early 1850s—of the initial plans to build penitentiaries through the early-twentieth-century prison reforms undertaken as part of President Augusto Leguia’s attempts to modernize and expand the Peruvian state. Aguirre reconstructs the social, cultural, and doctrinal influences that determined how lawbreakers were treated, how programs of prison reform fared, and how inmates experienced incarceration. He argues that the Peruvian prisons were primarily used not to combat crime or to rehabilitate allegedly deviant individuals, but rather to help reproduce and maintain an essentially unjust social order. In this sense, he finds that the prison system embodied the contradictory and exclusionary nature of modernization in Peru.
Drawing on a large collection of prison and administrative records archived at Peru’s Ministry of Justice, Aguirre offers a detailed account of the daily lives of men incarcerated in Lima’s jails. In showing the extent to which the prisoners actively sought to influence prison life, he reveals the dynamic between prisoners and guards as a process of negotiation, accommodation, and resistance. He describes how police and the Peruvian state defined criminality and how their efforts to base a prison system on the latest scientific theories—imported from Europe and the United States—foundered on the shoals of financial constraints, administrative incompetence, corruption, and widespread public indifference. Locating his findings within the political and social mores of Lima society, Aguirre reflects on the connections between punishment, modernization, and authoritarian traditions in Peru.
In the field of criminal justice, public policy is designed to address the problems brought on by criminal behavior and the response to that behavior. However, too often, the theories carefully developed in the academy fail to make their way into programs and policy. The editors and contributors to this second edition of Criminology and Public Policy highlight the recent development of “translational criminology” to address the growing movement in criminology to use the results of criminological research and theory to better inform policy and practice.
The essays in Criminology and Public Policy propose an in-depth look at both theory and practice and how they are integrated across a number of key criminal justice problems—from racial and environmental concerns to gun control and recidivism rates as well as police use of force and mass incarceration. The end result is an essential volume that blends both theory and practice in an effort to address the critical problems in explaining, preventing, responding to, and correcting criminal behavior.
Contributors include: Robert K. Ax, Michelle N. Block, Anthony A. Braga, Rod K. Brunson, Jennifer Carlson, Ronald V. Clarke, Shea Cronin, Megan Denver, Kevin M. Drakulich, Grant Duwe, Amy Farrell, Cheryl Jonson, Charis E. Kubrin, Justin Kurland, Megan Kurlychek, Shannon Magnuson, Daniel P. Mears, Robert D. Morgan, Kathleen Powell, Danielle Rudes, Cassia Spohn, Cody Telep, Natalie Todak, Glenn Trager, Jillian J. Turanovic, Sara Wakefield, Patricia Warren, David Weisburd, Michael D. White, Rob White, Lauren Wilson and the editors
The incarcerated in America's cultural imagination.
The Cultural Prison brings a new dimension to the study of prisoners and punishment by focusing on how the punishment of American offenders is represented and shaped in the mass media through public arguments. The study is based on an analysis of 642 articles collected by the author from American popular journals and magazines, as well as newspaper accounts, films, and public speeches, spanning the years 1950 to 1992. By piecing together and studying these popular narratives, he divides the history of prisoners and punishment into four eras, each marked by a shift in value system. He argues that the discourse, or rhetoric, surrounding prisoners and punishment on the public level works as a historical force that shapes contemporary culture.
The author is concerned that the public seems to have an inability or unwillingness to question or resist cultural definitions of normalcy and legal behavior. He explains that ideally moral behavior should be a matter of public debate rather than of unquestioned perpetuation, and he urges increased understanding of institutional and cultural discipline and our questioning the ways in which the constitution of punishment and prisoners influences us culturally.
The"cultural prison" refers to the way in which this study acts as an investigation of "the discipline of discipline"; it is an examination of the way in which discipline is shaped and formed in public discourse. The volume concludes with a fascinating account of the move to electronic means of surveillance; coupled with the representations of the prisoner along the lines of race and gender, it explains what these new techniques mean to contemporary culture.
For incarcerated fathers, prison rather than work mediates access to their families. Prison rules and staff regulate phone privileges, access to writing materials, and visits. Perhaps even more important are the ways in which the penal system shapes men’s gender performances. Incarcerated men must negotiate how they will enact violence and aggression, both in terms of the expectations placed upon inmates by the prison system and in terms of their own responses to these expectations. Additionally, the relationships between incarcerated men and the mothers of their children change, particularly since women now serve as “gatekeepers” who control when and how they contact their children. This book considers how those within the prison system negotiate their expectations about “real” men and “good” fathers, how prisoners negotiate their relationships with those outside of prison, and in what ways this negotiation reflects their understanding of masculinity.
The death penalty arouses our passions as does few other issues. Some view taking another person's life as just and reasonable punishment while others see it as an inhumane and barbaric act. But the intensity of feeling that capital punishment provokes often obscures its long and varied history in this country.
Now, for the first time, we have a comprehensive history of the death penalty in the United States. Law professor Stuart Banner tells the story of how, over four centuries, dramatic changes have taken place in the ways capital punishment has been administered and experienced. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the penalty was standard for a laundry list of crimes--from adultery to murder, from arson to stealing horses. Hangings were public events, staged before audiences numbering in the thousands, attended by women and men, young and old, black and white alike. Early on, the gruesome spectacle had explicitly religious purposes--an event replete with sermons, confessions, and last minute penitence--to promote the salvation of both the condemned and the crowd. Through the nineteenth century, the execution became desacralized, increasingly secular and private, in response to changing mores. In the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, ironically, as it has become a quiet, sanitary, technological procedure, the death penalty is as divisive as ever.
By recreating what it was like to be the condemned, the executioner, and the spectator, Banner moves beyond the debates, to give us an unprecedented understanding of capital punishment's many meanings. As nearly four thousand inmates are now on death row, and almost one hundred are currently being executed each year, the furious debate is unlikely to diminish. The Death Penalty is invaluable in understanding the American way of the ultimate punishment.
Table of Contents:
1. Terror, Blood, and Repentance 2. Hanging Day 3. Degrees of Death 4. The Origins of Opposition 5. Northern Reform, Southern Retention 6. Into the Jail Yard 7. Technological Cures 8. Decline 9. To the Supreme Court 10. Resurrection
Epilogue Appendix: Counting Executions Notes Acknowledgments Index
Reviews of this book: [Banner] deftly balances history and politics, crafting a book that will be valuable to anyone interested in knowing more about capital punishment, no matter what his or her views are on the ethical issues surrounding the topic. --David Pitt, Booklist
Reviews of this book: In this well-researched and clear account...Banner charts how and why this country went from having one of the world's mildest punitive systems to one of its harshest. --Publishers Weekly
Reviews of this book: Stuart Banner's book is fine and balanced and important. His lucid history of this grim subject is scrupulously accurate...It is refreshingly free of the tendentiousness and the sensationalism that this subject invites. --Richard A. Posner, New Republic
Reviews of this book: [The] contrast between the past and the present can now be seen with great clarity thanks to...Stuart Banner and his comprehensive book, The Death Penalty...American historians have been slow to undertake anything like a full-scale study of the subject...Banner's book does much to fill [the gaps]. His book is an important and comprehensive...treatment of the topic. --Hugo Adam Bedau, Boston Review
Reviews of this book: Despite the gruesome nature of the book's topic, it is difficult to stop reading. Banner's research is fascinating, his writing style compelling. Given the emotional nature of the subject (few people known to me are wishy-washy about whether the death penalty is moral or immoral), Banner walks the line of neutrality skillfully, without seeming evasive. --Steve Weinberg, Legal Times
Reviews of this book: Stuart Banner's The Death Penalty is a tour de force, remarkable for its neutrality as it traces the ways in which the death penalty has been applied, and for what kinds of crimes, from the Colonial era to the present. Banner...writes like a historian who believes perspective is best gained by dispassionately setting out what happened and letting everyone come to his or her own conclusions. I think, in this book, that works wonderfully. On a subject in which emotions run so high, it seems awfully useful to have a dispassionate voice. After all, if Banner allowed his own feelings on the death penalty--pro, con or somewhere in the middle--to be known, the book easily could be dismissed as a diatribe. He doesn't, and it can't. --Judith Neuman Beck, San Jose Mercury News
Reviews of this book: Law professor Banner...offers a persuasive examination of the evolution of capital punishment from Colonial times onward. He makes clear that the death penalty has possessed generally consistent support from the US populace, although changes in the sensibilities of juries, executioners, legal theoreticians, and judges have occurred...Highly recommended. --R. C. Cottrell, Choice
Reviews of this book: Stuart Banner aptly illustrates in The Death Penalty, like the nation, the death penalty has changed with the times...Banner's account spotlights a number of interesting trends in American history...Mostly evenhanded in the tour he provides through the history of the death penalty and its role in and reflection of American society, he has managed to provide an accessible look at what is a profoundly controversial and complicated subject. --Steven Martinovich, Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
Reviews of this book: "For centuries," Stuart Banner tells us, "Americans had been proud to possess a criminal-justice system that made less use of the death penalty than just about any other place on the globe, including the countries of western Europe." But no longer. Now we possess "one of the harshest criminal codes in the world." The Death Penalty helps explain that turnaround, but only in the course of a complicated story in which different factors emerge at different times to play often unforeseeable roles...[This is a] superbly told history. --Paul Rosenberg, Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News
Reviews of this book: Stuart Banner's lucid, richly researched book brings us, for the first time, a comprehensive history of American capital punishment from colonial times to the present. He describes the practices that characterized the institution at different periods, elucidates their ritual purposes and social meanings, and identifies the forces that led to their transformation. The book's well-ordered narrative is interspersed with individual case histories, that give flesh and blood to the account. --David Garland, Times Literary Supplement
Reviews of this book: [An] informative, even-handed, chillingly fascinating account of why and how the U.S. government and many state governments decided to sponsor executions of criminals--even though innocent defendants might die, too. --Jane Henderson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Reviews of this book: Stuart Banner's The Death Penalty is a splendidly objective achievement. Delightfully written, free of academic pretense, liberally sprinkled with apt references from contemporary sources, the book exhaustively explores the multifaceted evolution of America's penal practices. --Elsbeth Bothe, Baltimore Sun
The Death Penalty is certain to be the definitive account of the American experience with capital punishment, from its beginnings in the seventeenth century, to the execution of Timothy McVeigh in 2001. This is a first rate piece of scholarship: well written, deeply researched, fascinating to read, and full of insights and good common sense. It is, in my view, one of the finest books to deal with this troubled and troubling subject. Historical and legal scholarship owe a debt of gratitude to Stuart Banner. --Lawrence Friedman, Stanford Law School
A masterful book. This is a long overdue account which fills a huge gap in our understanding of America's long and complex relationship to state killing. With meticulous scholarship and lucid prose, Banner has written a compelling account of the place of capital punishment in our society. It sets the standard for all future scholarship on the history of the death penalty in America. --Austin Sarat, author of When the State Kills: Capital Punishment and the American Condition
The Death Penalty, a study we have badly needed, is the first history of the nation's engagement--as well as its disengagement--with capital punishment from the country's earliest days to the present. With a sure grasp of the constitutional issues, Stuart Banner greatly advances a conversation at last underway about the rightness of putting people to death for having inflicted a death. Banner's greatest and most useful feat is remaining dispassionate on a subject that he cares deeply about--as do a growing number of his fellow Americans. --William S. McFeely, author of Proximity to Death
The Death Penalty beautifully explains the changing paths traveled by supporters and opponents of capital punishment over the years. It explores a subject of enormous symbolic importance to Americans today, linking our views about the death penalty to our larger concerns about crime. --David Oshinsky, author of "Worse Than Slavery": Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice
Banner's book is a superbly detailed and textured social history of a subject too often treated in legal abstractions. It demonstrates how capital punishment has gnawed at the conscience and imagination of Americans, and how it has challenged their efforts to define themselves culturally, politically, and racially. --Robert Weisberg, Stanford Law School
Essays in this volume illustrate how shows such as Orange Is the New Black and Oz impact the public’s perception of crime rates, the criminal justice system, and imprisonment. Contributors look at prison wives on reality television series, portrayals of death row, breastfeeding while in prison, transgender prisoners, and black masculinity. They also examine the ways in which media messages ignore an individual’s struggle against an all too frequently biased system and instead dehumanize the incarcerated as violent and overwhelmingly masculine. Together these essays argue media reform is necessary for penal reform, proposing that more accurate media representations of prison life could improve public support for programs dealing with poverty, abuse, and drug addiction—factors that increase the likelihood of criminal activity and incarceration.
Scholars from cultural and critical studies, feminist studies, queer studies, African American studies, media studies, sociology, and psychology offer critical analysis of media depictions of prison, bridging the media’s portrayals of incarcerated lives with actual experiences and bringing to light forgotten voices in prison narratives.
Tracing the rise of digital computing in policing and punishment and its harmful impact on criminalized communities of color
The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that law enforcement agencies have access to more than 100 million names stored in criminal history databases. In some cities, 80 percent of the black male population is registered in these databases. Digitize and Punish explores the long history of digital computing and criminal justice, revealing how big tech, computer scientists, university researchers, and state actors have digitized carceral governance over the past forty years—with devastating impact on poor communities of color.
Providing a comprehensive study of the use of digital technology in American criminal justice, Brian Jefferson shows how the technology has expanded the wars on crime and drugs, enabling our current state of mass incarceration and further entrenching the nation’s racialized policing and punishment. After examining how the criminal justice system conceptualized the benefits of computers to surveil criminalized populations, Jefferson focuses on New York City and Chicago to provide a grounded account of the deployment of digital computing in urban police departments.
By highlighting the intersection of policing and punishment with big data and web technology—resulting in the development of the criminal justice system’s latest tool, crime data centers—Digitize and Punish makes clear the extent to which digital technologies have transformed and intensified the nature of carceral power.
"Stigma, shame and hardship---this is the lot shared by families whose young men have been swept into prison. Braman reveals the devastating toll mass incarceration takes on the parents, partners, and children left behind."
-Katherine S. Newman
"Doing Time on the Outside brings to life in a compelling way the human drama, and tragedy, of our incarceration policies. Donald Braman documents the profound economic and social consequences of the American policy of massive imprisonment of young African American males. He shows us the link between the broad-scale policy changes of recent decades and the isolation and stigma that these bring to family members who have a loved one in prison. If we want to understand fully the impact of current criminal justice policies, this book should be required reading."
-Mark Mauer, Assistant Director, The Sentencing Project
"Through compelling stories and thoughtful analysis, this book describes how our nation's punishment policies have caused incalculable damage to the fabric of family and community life. Anyone concerned about the future of urban America should read this book."
-Jeremy Travis, The Urban Institute
In the tradition of Elijah Anderson's Code of the Street and Katherine Newman's No Shame in My Game, this startling new ethnography by Donald Braman uncovers the other side of the incarceration saga: the little-told story of the effects of imprisonment on the prisoners' families.
Since 1970 the incarceration rate in the United States has more than tripled, and in many cities-urban centers such as Washington, D.C.-it has increased over five-fold. Today, one out of every ten adult black men in the District is in prison and three out of every four can expect to spend some time behind bars. But the numbers don't reveal what it's like for the children, wives, and parents of prisoners, or the subtle and not-so-subtle effects mass incarceration is having on life in the inner city.
Author Donald Braman shows that those doing time on the inside are having a ripple effect on the outside-reaching deep into the family and community life of urban America. Braman gives us the personal stories of what happens to the families and communities that prisoners are taken from and return to. Carefully documenting the effects of incarceration on the material and emotional lives of families, this groundbreaking ethnography reveals how criminal justice policies are furthering rather than abating the problem of social disorder. Braman also delivers a number of genuinely new arguments.
Among these is the compelling assertion that incarceration is holding offenders unaccountable to victims, communities, and families. The author gives the first detailed account of incarceration's corrosive effect on social capital in the inner city and describes in poignant detail how the stigma of prison pits family and community members against one another. Drawing on a series of powerful family portraits supported by extensive empirical data, Braman shines a light on the darker side of a system that is failing the very families and communities it seeks to protect.
Winner, Coalition for Community Writing Outstanding Book Award 2019
Doing Time, Writing Lives offers a much-needed analysis of the teaching of college writing in U.S. prisons, a racialized space that—despite housing more than 2 million people—remains nearly invisible to the general public. Through the examination of a college-in-prison program that promotes the belief that higher education in prison can reduce recidivism and improve life prospects for the incarcerated and their families, author Patrick W. Berry exposes not only incarcerated students’ hopes and dreams for their futures but also their anxieties about whether education will help them.
Combining case studies and interviews with the author’s own personal experience of teaching writing in prison, this book chronicles the attempts of incarcerated students to write themselves back into a society that has erased their lived histories. It challenges polarizing rhetoric often used to describe what literacy can and cannot deliver, suggesting more nuanced and ethical ways of understanding literacy and possibility in an age of mass incarceration.
"The HIV+ men incarcerated in Limestone Prison's Dorm 16 were put there to be forgotten. Not only do Benjamin Fleury-Steiner and Carla Crowder bring these men to life, Fleury-Steiner and Crowder also insist on placing these men in the middle of critical conversations about health policy, mass incarceration, and race. Dense with firsthand accounts, Dying Inside is a nimble, far-ranging and unblinking look at the cruelty inherent in our current penal policies."
---Lisa Kung, Director, Southern Center for Human Rights
"The looming prison health crisis, documented here at its extreme, is a shocking stain on American values and a clear opportunity to rethink our carceral approach to security."
---Jonathan Simon, University of California, Berkeley
"Dying Inside is a riveting account of a health crisis in a hidden prison facility."
---Michael Musheno, San Francisco State University, and coauthor of Deployed
"This fresh and original study should prick all of our consciences about the horrific consequences of the massive carceral state the United States has built over the last three decades."
---Marie Gottschalk, University of Pennsylvania, and author of The Prison and the Gallows
"An important, bold, and humanitarian book."
---Alison Liebling, University of Cambridge
"Fleury-Steiner makes a compelling case that inmate health care in America's prisons and jails has reached the point of catastrophe."
---Sharon Dolovich, University of California, Los Angeles
"Fleury-Steiner's persuasive argument not only exposes the sins of commission and omission on prison cellblocks, but also does an excellent job of showing how these problems are the natural result of our nation's shortsighted and punitive criminal justice policy."
---Allen Hornblum, Temple University, and author of Sentenced to Science
Dying Inside brings the reader face-to-face with the nightmarish conditions inside Limestone Prison's Dorm 16---the segregated HIV ward. Here, patients chained to beds share their space with insects and vermin in the filthy, drafty rooms, and contagious diseases spread like wildfire through a population with untreated---or poorly managed at best---HIV.
While Dorm 16 is a particularly horrific human rights tragedy, it is also a symptom of a disease afflicting the entire U.S. prison system. In recent decades, prison populations have exploded as Americans made mass incarceration the solution to crime, drugs, and other social problems even as privatization of prison services, especially health care, resulted in an overcrowded, underfunded system in which the most marginalized members of our society slowly wither from what the author calls "lethal abandonment."
This eye-opening account of one prison's failed health-care standards is a wake-up call, asking us to examine how we treat our forgotten citizens and compelling us to rethink the American prison system in this increasingly punitive age.
Today, death sentences in the U.S. are as rare as lightning strikes. Brandon Garrett shows us the reasons why, and explains what the failed death penalty experiment teaches about the effect of inept lawyering, overzealous prosecution, race discrimination, wrongful convictions, and excessive punishments throughout the criminal justice system.
In Everyday Desistance, Laura Abrams and Diane J. Terry examine the lives of young people who spent considerable time in and out of correctional institutions as adolescents. These formerly incarcerated youth often struggle with the onset of adult responsibilities at a much earlier age than their more privileged counterparts. In the context of urban Los Angeles, with a large-scale gang culture and diminished employment prospects, further involvement in crime appears almost inevitable. Yet, as Abrams and Terry point out, these formerly imprisoned youth are often quite resilient and can be successful at creating lives for themselves after months or even years of living in institutions run by the juvenile justice system.
This book narrates the day-to-day experiences of these young men and women, focusing on their attempts to surmount the challenges of adulthood, resisting a return to criminal activity, and formulating long-term goals for a secure adult future.
Executing Democracy: Capital Punishment & the Making of America, 1683-1807 is the first volume of a rhetorical history of public debates about crime, violence, and capital punishment in America. This examination begins in 1683, when William Penn first struggled to govern the rowdy indentured servants of Philadelphia, and continues up until 1807, when the Federalists sought to impose law-and-order upon the New Republic.
This volume offers a lively historical overview of how crime, violence, and capital punishment influenced the settling of the New World, the American Revolution, and the frantic post-war political scrambling to establish norms that would govern the new republic.
By presenting a macro-historical overview, and by filling the arguments with voices from different political camps and communicative genres, Hartnett provides readers with fresh perspectives for understanding the centrality of public debates about capital punishment to the history of American democracy.
This eye-opening and well-researched companion to the first volume of Executing Democracy enters the death-penalty discussion during the debates of 1835 and 1843, when pro-death penalty Calvinist minister George Barrell Cheever faced off against abolitionist magazine editor John O’Sullivan. In contrast to the macro-historical overview presented in volume 1, volume 2 provides micro-historical case studies, using these debates as springboards into the discussion of the death penalty in America at large. Incorporating a wide range of sources, including political poems, newspaper editorials, and warring manifestos, this second volume highlights a variety of perspectives, thus demonstrating the centrality of public debates about crime, violence, and punishment to the history of American democracy. Hartnett’s insightful assessment bears witness to a complex national discussion about the political, metaphysical, and cultural significance of the death penalty.
"These essays...show us the human and inhuman realities of capital punishment through the eyes of the condemned and those who work with them. By focusing on those awaiting death, they present the awful truth behind the statistics in concrete, personal terms."
--William J. Bowers, author of Legal Homicide
Between 1930 and 1967, there were 3,859 executions carried out under state and civil authority in the United States. Since the ten-year moratorium on capital punishment ended in 1977, more than one hundred prisoners have been executed. There are more than two thousand men and women now living on death row awaiting their executions. Facing the Death Penalty offers an in-depth examination of what life under a sentence of death is like for condemned inmates and their families, how and why various professionals assist them in their struggle for life, and what these personal experiences with capital punishment tell us about the wisdom of this penal policy.
The contributors include historians, attorneys, sociologists, anthropologists, criminologists, a minister, a philosopher, and three prisoners. One of the prisoner-contributors is Willie Jasper Darden, Jr., whose case and recent execution after fourteen years on death row drew international attention. The inter-disciplinary perspectives offered in this book will not solve the death penalty debate, but they offer important and unique insights on the full effects of American capital punishment provisions. While the book does not set out to generate sympathy for those convicted of horrible crimes, taken together, the essays build a case for abolition of the death penalty.
"This work stands with the best of what's been written. It represents the best of those who have seen the worst."
--Colman McCarthy, The Washington Post Book World
California is a state of immense contradictions. Home to colossal wealth and long portrayed as a bastion of opportunity, it also has one of the largest prison populations in the United States and consistently ranks on the bottom of education indexes. Taking a unique, multifaceted insider’s perspective, First Strike delves into the root causes of its ever-expansive prison system and disastrous educational policy.
Recentering analysis of Black masculinity beyond public rhetoric, First Strike critiques the trope of the “school-to-prison pipeline” and instead explores the realm of public school as a form of “enclosure” that has influenced the schooling (and denial of schooling) and imprisonment of Black people in California. Through a fascinating ethnography of a public school in Los Angeles County, and a “day in the life tour” of the effect of prisons on the education of Black youth, Damien M. Sojoyner looks at the contestation over education in the Black community from Reconstruction to the civil rights and Black liberation movements of the past three decades.
Policy makers, school districts, and local governments have long known that there is a relationship between high incarceration rates and school failure. First Strike is the first book that demonstrates why that connection exists and shows how school districts, cities and states have been complicit and can reverse a disturbing and needless trend. Rather than rely upon state-sponsored ideological or policy-driven models that do nothing more than to maintain structures of hierarchal domination, it allows us to resituate our framework of understanding and begin looking for solutions in spaces that are readily available and are immersed in radically democratic social visions of the future.
Today there are approximately fifty thousand prisoners in American prisons serving life without parole, having been found guilty of crimes ranging from murder and rape to burglary, carjacking, and drug offences. In The Forgotten Men, criminologist Margaret E. Leigey provides an insightful account of a group of aging inmates imprisoned for at least twenty years, with virtually no chance of release.
These men make up one of the most marginalized segments of the contemporary U.S. prison population. Considered too dangerous for rehabilitation, ignored by prison administrators, and overlooked by courts disinclined to review such sentences, these prisoners grow increasingly cut off from family and the outside world. Drawing on in-depth interviews with twenty-five such prisoners, Leigey gives voice to these extremely marginalized inmates and offers a look at how they struggle to cope. She reveals, for instance, that the men believe that permanent incarceration is as inhumane as capital punishment, calling life without parole “the hard death penalty.” Indeed, after serving two decades in prison, some wished that they had received the death penalty instead. Leigey also recounts the ways in which the prisoners attempt to construct meaningful lives inside the bleak environment where they will almost certainly live out their lives.
Every state in the union (except Alaska) has the life-without-parole sentencing option, despite its controversial nature and its staggering cost to the taxpayer. The Forgotten Men provides a much-needed analysis of the policies behind life-without-parole sentencing, arguing that such sentences are overused and lead to serious financial and ethical dilemmas.
In the era of mass incarceration, over 600,000 people are released from federal or state prison each year, with many returning to chaotic living environments rife with violence. In these circumstances, how do former prisoners navigate reentering society? In Homeward, sociologist Bruce Western examines the tumultuous first year after release from prison. Drawing from in-depth interviews with over one hundred individuals, he describes the lives of the formerly incarcerated and demonstrates how poverty, racial inequality, and failures of social support trap many in a cycle of vulnerability despite their efforts to rejoin society.
Western and his research team conducted comprehensive interviews with men and women released from the Massachusetts state prison system who returned to neighborhoods around Boston. Western finds that for most, leaving prison is associated with acute material hardship. In the first year after prison, most respondents could not afford their own housing and relied on family support and government programs, with half living in deep poverty. Many struggled with chronic pain, mental illnesses, or addiction—the most important predictor of recidivism. Most respondents were also unemployed. Some older white men found union jobs in the construction industry through their social networks, but many others, particularly those who were black or Latino, were unable to obtain full-time work due to few social connections to good jobs, discrimination, and lack of credentials. Violence was common in their lives, and often preceded their incarceration. In contrast to the stereotype of tough criminals preying upon helpless citizens, Western shows that many former prisoners were themselves subject to lifetimes of violence and abuse and encountered more violence after leaving prison, blurring the line between victims and perpetrators.
Western concludes that boosting the social integration of former prisoners is key to both ameliorating deep disadvantage and strengthening public safety. He advocates policies that increase assistance to those in their first year after prison, including guaranteed housing and health care, drug treatment, and transitional employment. By foregrounding the stories of people struggling against the odds to exit the criminal justice system, Homeward shows how overhauling the process of prisoner reentry and rethinking the foundations of justice policy could address the harms of mass incarceration.
America is fascinated by prisons and prison culture, but few Americans understand what it is like to work in corrections. Claire Schmidt, whose extended family includes three generations of Wisconsin prison workers, introduces readers to penitentiary officers and staff as they share stories, debate the role of corrections in American racial politics and social justice, and talk about the important function of humor in their jobs.
In a state that locks up a disproportionate number of men and women of color, white prison workers occupy a complicated social position as representatives of institutional authority and bearers of social stigma. The job, by turns dangerous, dull, or dehumanizing, is aided by a quick wit, comedic timing, and verbal agility. The men and women who do this work rely on storytelling, practical jokes, and sarcasm to bond with each other, build flexible relationships with inmates, and create personal identities that work in and out of prison. Schmidt shows how this humorous occupational culture both upholds and undermines prisons as social institutions.
Issues of power and race, as well as sex and gender, infuse Schmidt's groundbreaking analysis, and she also engages with current scholarship about identity, occupational folklore, and family narrative. This eye-opening, provocative book reveals the invisible culture, beliefs, and aesthetics embedded in workplace humor.
"For a few decades American prisons were the wonder of the world. [However] early hopes that a prison regime could be a powerful means of reforming most convicts have been abandoned, and prisons are seen even by some of those who think we need more of them as savage repositories, to be shunned or veiled rather than admired. This sad history is drawn with great insight and learning in [this] important new book about prisons and punishment in America by Michael Sherman and Gordon Hawkins. . . . The views of these professionals must be taken seriously."—Graham Hughes, New York Review of Books
"This is a serious and enlightened and concerned attempt to fuse liberal and conservative attitudes and values to achieve a breakthrough in American penal policy."—Congressional Staff Journal
State and local policies are key to understanding how to reduce prison populations. This anthology of critical and personal essays about the need to reform criminal justice policies that have led to mass incarceration provides a national perspective while remaining grounded in Michigan. Major components in this volume include a focus on current research on the impact of incarceration on minority groups, youth, and the mentally ill; and a focus on research on Michigan’s leadership in the area of reentry. Changes in policy will require a change in the public’s problematic images of incarcerated people. In this volume, academic research is combined with first-person narratives and paintings from people who have been directly affected by incarceration to allow readers to form more personal connections with those who face incarceration. At a time when much of the push to reduce prison populations is focused on the financial cost to states and cities, this book emphasizes the broader social and human costs of mass incarceration.
"I cannot overstate how profoundly my experience with the Prison Creative Arts Project has shaped my life. It began my engagement with prison issues, developed both my passion and my understanding of them, and I continue to draw on both as I seek to contribute to a more rational, humane and just criminal justice system. PCAP prepared me to adapt to any situation, to take risks, to collaborate with people very different from myself in a manner infused with total respect."
---Jesse Jannetta, researcher, Justice Policy Center, the Urban Institute
"PCAP provided me with an emotional education that I would not have received otherwise. PCAP continually opens the doors to the stark reality of our criminal justice system as well as our society's ability to right the wrongs of that system and provide justice to millions of men, women, and children . . . PCAP showed me the power I, and the individuals around me, have to make a difference."
---Anne Bowles, Policy and Outreach Associate, Institute for Higher Education Policy
"PCAP looks beyond past mistakes and personal shortcomings to find the beauty and creative energies that help to heal the hurts we've done to others. They have not forgotten that we are human too! . . . Their program has given me a way to reach people that I would otherwise never reach. For that, I owe PCAP everything. They are my lifeline that I cling to."
---Bryan Picken, incarcerated artist
Prisons are an invisible, but dominant, part of American society: the United States incarcerates more people than any other nation in the world. In Michigan, the number of prisoners rose from 3,000 in 1970 to more than 50,000 by 2008, a shift that Buzz Alexander witnessed firsthand when he came to teach at the University of Michigan.
Is William Martinez Not Our Brother? describes the University of Michigan's Prison Creative Arts Project (PCAP), a pioneering program founded in 1990 that provides university courses, a nonprofit organization, and a national network for incarcerated youth and adults in Michigan juvenile facilities and prisons.
By giving incarcerated individuals an opportunity to participate in the arts, PCAP enables them to withstand and often overcome the conditions and culture of prison, the policies of an incarcerating state, and the consequences of mass incarceration.
Buzz Alexander is Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of English Language and Literature, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, at the University of Michigan and was Carnegie National Professor of the Year in 2005.
In his analysis of the current Japanese corrections system, internationally respected criminologist Elmer H. Johnson focuses on three basic questions: What are the characteristics of the major programmatic elements? How do various personnel carry out their programmatic responsibilities? Why are the various duties and activities carried out in a particular way?
Johnson points out that compared with the United States, where prison populations are huge and often violent, Japan incarcerates relatively few criminals. In 1989, for example, Japan locked up only 34 out of every 100,000 citizens while the United States imprisoned people at a rate of 271 per 100,000. Examining the cultural differences leading to this disparity, Johnson notes that in Japan prosecutors are reluctant to refer defendants for trial and the courts often suspend sentences for convicted felons.
In Japan, two bureaus—the Correction Bureau and the Rehabilitation Bureau—administer all Japanese correctional activities. Placing these bureaus in the organizational scheme of the Ministry of Justice, Johnson traces the history, describes the organizational ideologies, and outlines the special features of each.
A central feature of the Japanese penal system is the industrial prison, a concept that met such fierce opposition in the United States that it lost almost all access to the free market by the 1940s. Johnson traces the history of the industrial prison, noting particularly that the industrial operations in adult institutions explain in part why there is almost no violence and why few try to escape. Juvenile institutions enjoy similar success; even though they produce no industrial products, the juvenile training schools emphasize education, vocational training, and counseling.
Japanese correctional officers rely heavily on the community and on unsalaried volunteer probation officers for supervision of probationers and parolees. Although Japanese courts regard probationary supervision as too punitive for most convicted defendants and return many to the community without supervision, the probation caseload is weighty. Johnson describes the responsibilities and operations of the Regional Parole Boards. He also discusses the aid hostels (halfway houses) that are primarily operated by private organizations and that serve released or paroled prisoners.
Johnson sums up by noting that both the Correction Bureau and the Rehabilitation Bureau depend on the overall operations of police, prosecutors, and judges. More broadly, he asserts, both bureaus are creatures of Japanese society and culture. The assets and disadvantages of the bureaus reflect society’s reluctance to sentence defendants to prison and, to a lesser extent, the reluctance to place them on probationary supervision.
Life imprisonment has replaced the death penalty as the most common sentence imposed for heinous crimes worldwide. Consequently, it has become the leading issue of international criminal justice reform. In the first survey of its kind, Dirk van Zyl Smit and Catherine Appleton argue for a human rights–based reappraisal of this harsh punishment.
Faith in the power and righteousness of retribution has taken over the American criminal justice system. Approaching punishment and responsibility from a philosophical perspective, Erin Kelly challenges the moralism behind harsh treatment of criminal offenders and calls into question our society’s commitment to mass incarceration.
Completing Elmer H. Johnson’s impressive three-volume examination of corrections in Japan, LinkingCommunity and Corrections in Japan (written with the assistance of Carol H. Johnson) focuses on the Rehabilitation Bureau’s responsibilities regarding probation, parole, and aftercare as well as the Correction Bureau’s role in Japan’s version of community-oriented corrections. Johnson first outlines the tasks of the Rehabilitation Bureau, then turns to historical and contemporary views of community and corrections. In discussions of the probation and parole system for both adults and juveniles, he describes in detail the Japanese version of supervision and the return of prisoners to the community. One strength of this study is Johnson’s impartiality. As an investigator, he functions as a "friend of the court," an adviser who is free to conduct an objective pursuit of the fundamental strengths and shortcomings of the Japanese prison system. He also follows the Foucauldian dictum: "With the prisons there would be no sense of limiting oneself to discourses about prisons; just as important are the discourses which arise within the prison, the decisions and regulations which are among its constituent elements, its means of functioning, along with its strategies."
Living Black breaks the stereotype of poor African American neighborhoods as dysfunctional ghettos of helpless and hopeless people. Despite real and enduring poverty, the community described here—the historic North End of Champaign, Illinois—has a vibrant social life and strong ties among generations. But it operates on its own nonjudgmental terms—teen moms aren’t derided, school dropouts aren’t ridiculed, and parolees and ex-cons aren’t scorned.
Mark S. Fleisher offers a window into daily life in this neighborhood, particularly through the stories of Mo and Memphis Washington, who fight to sustain a stable home for their children, and of Burpee, a local man who has returned to the North End to rebuild his life after years of crime and punishment in Chicago.
“Outstanding” books for public & secondary school libraries from university presses, American Library Association
Taking readers into the darkness of solitary confinement, this searing collection of convict experiences, academic research, and policy recommendations shines a light on the proliferation of supermax (super-maximum-security) prisons and the detrimental effects of long-term high-security confinement on prisoners and their families.
Stephen C. Richards, an ex-convict who served time in nine federal prisons before earning his PhD in criminology, argues the supermax prison era began in 1983 at USP Marion in southern Illinois, where the first “control units” were built by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The Marion Experiment, written from a convict criminology perspective, offers an introduction to long-term solitary confinement and supermax prisons, followed by a series of first-person accounts by prisoners—some of whom are scholars—previously or currently incarcerated in high-security facilities, including some of the roughest prisons in the western world. Scholars also address the widespread “Marionization” of solitary confinement; its impact on female, adolescent, and mentally ill prisoners and families; and international perspectives on imprisonment.
As a bold step toward rethinking supermax prisons, Richards presents the most comprehensive view of the topic to date to raise awareness of the negative aspects of long-term solitary confinement and the need to reevaluate how prisoners are housed and treated.
Celebrated prison reformer Miriam Van Waters made history for her sensational battle to retain the superintendency of the Massachusetts Reformatory for Women in 1949. Maternal Justice provides a compelling biography of this early lesbian activist by moving beyond the controversy to tell the story of a remarkable woman whose success rested upon the power of her own charismatic leadership.
Estelle B. Freedman draws from Van Waters's diaries, letters, and personal papers to recreate her complex personal life, unveiling the disparity between Van Waters's public persona and her agonized private soul. With the power and elegance of a novel, Maternal Justice illuminates this historical context, casting light on the social welfare tradition, on women's history, on the American feminist movement, and on the history of sexuality.
"Maternal Justice is as much a work of history as it is biography, bringing to life not only a remarkable woman but also the complex political and social milieu within which she worked and lived."—Kelleher Jewett, The Nation
"This sympathetic biography reclaims Van Waters for history."—Publishers Weekly
"The Van Waters legacy, as Freedman gracefully presents, is that she cared about the lives of women behind bars. It is a strikingly unfashionable sentiment today."—Jane Meredith Adams, San Francisco Chronicle Book Review, Editor's Recommended Selection
"This finely crafted biography is both an engrossing read and a richly complicated account of a reformer whose work . . . bridged the eras of voluntarist charitable activism and professional social service."—Sherri Broder, Women's Review of Books
"This is a sympathetic, highly personal biography, revealing of both the author's responses to her subject's life and, in considerable detail, Van Waters's family traumas, illnesses, and love affairs."—Elizabeth Israels Perry, Journal of American History
Investigating the cultural, social, and political histories of punishment during ninety years surrounding the 1838 abolition of slavery in Jamaica, Diana Paton challenges standard historiographies of slavery and discipline. The abolition of slavery in Jamaica, as elsewhere, entailed the termination of slaveholders’ legal right to use violence—which they defined as “punishment”—against those they had held as slaves. Paton argues that, while slave emancipation involved major changes in the organization and representation of punishment, there was no straightforward transition from corporal punishment to the prison or from privately inflicted to state-controlled punishment. Contesting the dichotomous understanding of pre-modern and modern modes of power that currently dominates the historiography of punishment, she offers critical readings of influential theories of power and resistance, including those of Michel Foucault, Pierre Bourdieu, and Ranajit Guha.
No Bond but the Law reveals the longstanding and intimate relationship between state formation and private punishment. The construction of a dense, state-organized system of prisons began not with emancipation but at the peak of slave-based wealth in Jamaica, in the 1780s. Jamaica provided the paradigmatic case for British observers imagining and evaluating the emancipation process. Paton’s analysis moves between imperial processes on the one hand and Jamaican specificities on the other, within a framework comparing developments regarding punishment in Jamaica with those in the U.S. South and elsewhere. Emphasizing the gendered nature of penal policy and practice throughout the emancipation period, Paton is attentive to the ways in which the actions of ordinary Jamaicans and, in particular, of women prisoners, shaped state decisions.
Out of the Red is one man’s pathbreaking story of how social forces and personal choices intertwined to deliver an unfortunate fate. A childhood of poverty, institutional discrimination, violence, hopelessness, and other traumatic experiences, his life course took him through the treacherous landscape of street gangs at the age of fourteen. For a kid from poverty and family strife, thrown away by the public education system, the Bloods offered a sense of family, protection, excitement, and power. Incarcerated during the Texas prison boom, the teenage former gangster was thrust into a fight for survival as he navigated the perils of adult prison. As mass incarceration and prison gangs swallowed up youth like him, survival meant finding hope in a hopeless situation and carving a path to his own rehabilitation. Despite all odds, he forged a new path through education, ultimately achieving the seemingly impossible for a formerly incarcerated ex-gangbanger.
Why does the United States, alone among Western democracies, still have the death penalty? It's not a new question, but David Garland provides fresh answers from a multilayered analysis...The title hints at the most provocative part of Garland's answer. In American history, the "peculiar institution" is slavery. Anyone who thinks its vestiges were wiped out by the Emancipation Proclamation or civil rights laws should read this book and think again.
Jonathan Simon University of Chicago Press, 1993 Library of Congress HV9304.S54 1993 | Dewey Decimal 364.620973
This powerful book reveals how modern strategies of punishment—and, by all accounts, their failure—relate to political and economic transformations in society at large. Jonathan Simon uses the practice of parole in California as a window to the changing historical understanding of what a corrections system does and how it works. Because California is representative of policies and practices on a national level, Simon explicitly presents his findings within a national framework.
When parole first emerged as a corrections strategy in the nineteenth century, work was supposed to keep ex-prisoners out of trouble. This strategy foundered in the changing economy after World War II. What followed was a rehabilitative strategy, where the clinical expertise of the parole agent replaced the discipline of the industrial labor market in defining and controlling criminal deviance. Today, Simon argues, as drastic changes in the economy have virtually locked out an entire class, rehabilitation has given way to mere management. The effect is isolation of the offender, either in jail or in an underclass community; the result is an escalating cycle of imprisonment, destabilization, and insecurity.
No significant improvement in the current penal crisis can be expected until we better understand the relationship between punishment and social order, a relationship which this book explores in theoretical, historical, and practical detail.
Prison and Social Death
Price, Joshua M Rutgers University Press, 2015 Library of Congress HV9471.P72 2015 | Dewey Decimal 365.6
The United States imprisons more of its citizens than any other nation in the world. To be sentenced to prison is to face systematic violence, humiliation, and, perhaps worst of all, separation from family and community. It is, to borrow Orlando Patterson’s term for the utter isolation of slavery, to suffer “social death.” In Prison and Social Death, Joshua Price exposes the unexamined cost that prisoners pay while incarcerated and after release, drawing upon hundreds of often harrowing interviews conducted with people in prison, parolees, and their families.
Price argues that the prison separates prisoners from desperately needed communities of support from parents, spouses, and children. Moreover, this isolation of people in prison renders them highly vulnerable to other forms of violence, including sexual violence. Price stresses that the violence they face goes beyond physical abuse by prison guards and it involves institutionalized forms of mistreatment, ranging from abysmally poor health care to routine practices that are arguably abusive, such as pat-downs, cavity searches, and the shackling of pregnant women. And social death does not end with prison. The condition is permanent, following people after they are released from prison. Finding housing, employment, receiving social welfare benefits, and regaining voting rights are all hindered by various legal and other hurdles. The mechanisms of social death, Price shows, are also informal and cultural. Ex-prisoners face numerous forms of distrust and are permanently stigmatized by other citizens around them.
A compelling blend of solidarity, civil rights activism, and social research, Prison and Social Death offers a unique look at the American prison and the excessive and unnecessary damage it inflicts on prisoners and parolees.
From broken-window policing in Detroit to prison-building in Appalachia, exploring the expansion of the carceral state and its oppressive social relations into everyday life
Prison Land offers a geographic excavation of the prison as a set of social relations—including property, work, gender, and race—enacted across various landscapes of American life. Prisons, Brett Story shows, are more than just buildings of incarceration bound to cycles of crime and punishment. Instead, she investigates the production of carceral power at a range of sites, from buses to coalfields and from blighted cities to urban financial hubs, to demonstrate how the organization of carceral space is ideologically and materially grounded in racial capitalism.
Story’s critically acclaimed film The Prison in Twelve Landscapes is based on the same research that informs this book. In both, Story takes an expansive view of what constitutes contemporary carceral space, interrogating the ways in which racial capitalism is reproduced and for which police technologies of containment and control are employed. By framing the prison as a set of social relations, Prison Land forces us to confront the production of new carceral forms that go well beyond the prison system. In doing so, it profoundly undermines both conventional ideas of prisons as logical responses to the problem of crime and attachment to punishment as the relevant measure of a transformed criminal justice system.
Despite lethal explosions of violence from within and critical assaults from without, it seems certain that prisons will continue to exist for the foreseeable future. Gordon Hawkins argues that certain key issues which attend the use of imprisonment as a penal method must be dealt with realistically. Beginning with a discussion of the ideology of imprisonment and the principal lines of criticism directed at it, Hawkins examines such issues as the prisonization hypothesis (the theory that prisons serve as a training ground for criminals), the role of the prison guard, work in prisons, and the use of prisoners as research subjects for medical experiments. He also deals with the prisoners' rights movement and its implications for the future of prison administration. Hawkins not only makes specific recommendations for reform, he also carefully appraises the barriers which obstruct their implementation.
"Hawkins devotes a large portion of this relatively short book to a discussion of some of the really crucial policy activities that tend to stifle meaningful reform and then goes on to tell how at least some of these policies can be altered. . . . The book concludes with a chapter devoted to a discussion of impediments to change that should be required reading for all serious students of penology."—Choice
"Hawkins has added a much needed down-to-earch analysis of prison. . . . This is not a pessimistic book. It is a realistic book. It avoids the pitfall of utopian and single-factor solutions to an extremely complex problem."—Graeme R. Newman, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
America’s criminal justice system reflects irrational fears stoked by politicians seeking to win election. Pointing to specific policies that are morally problematic and have failed to end the cycle of recidivism, Rachel Barkow argues that reform guided by evidence, not politics and emotions, will reduce crime and reverse mass incarceration.
This special issue of Radical History Review considers the persistence of death and suffering in the history of punishment to be part of historical legacies created by slavery and colonialism. These essays, which focus primarily on the United States, contend that the most “modern” political systems of the twenty-first century still stand behind mechanisms of violence and death in their geopolitical strategies, sanctioning military use of torture and punishment, much like thoroughly repressive regimes, to incapacitate their enemies and even their own citizens. The issue further argues that the infliction of pain, suffering, and untimely death through punishment is foundational, rather than exceptional, to modern state power.
The issue’s contributors—comprising both academics and activists—examine the practices of punishment and death imposed upon citizens, particularly through penal systems. One contributor exposes how the indignation and outrage many Americans expressed toward the military torture at Abu Ghraib do not extend to similar instances of torture (beatings, “shower-baths,” sexual abuse, etc.) against inmates of color within the U.S. prison system. Another contributor reflects on the unexpected but effective alliance between antiprison activists and the environmental justice movement in California, which worked to stop the massive prison-building boom of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Bringing a longer sweep of Western colonialism into view, another essay reveals the racial prejudices within disciplinary processes of Puerto Rico that lingered even after the island’s emancipation from the Spanish American empire, leading to unequal distribution of punishment on both colonial and domestic subject populations.
Contributors. Ethan Blue, Rose Braz, Helena Cobban, Craig Gilmore, Alan Eladio Gómez, R. J. Lambrose, Heather Jane McCarty, Dylan Rodríguez, Kelvin Santiago-Valles, Carolyn Strange, Patrick Timmons
In this path-breaking book, David Garland argues that punishment is a complex social institution that affects both social relations and cultural meanings. Drawing on theorists from Durkheim to Foucault, he insightfully critiques the entire spectrum of social thought concerning punishment, and reworks it into a new interpretive synthesis.
"Punishment and Modern Society is an outstanding delineation of the sociology of punishment. At last the process that is surely the heart and soul of criminology, and perhaps of sociology as well—punishment—has been rescued from the fringes of these 'disciplines'. . . . This book is a first-class piece of scholarship."—Graeme Newman, Contemporary Sociology
"Garland's treatment of the theorists he draws upon is erudite, faithful and constructive. . . . Punishment and Modern Society is a magnificent example of working social theory."—John R. Sutton, American Journal of Sociology
"Punishment and Modern Society lifts contemporary penal issues from the mundane and narrow contours within which they are so often discussed and relocates them at the forefront of public policy. . . . This book will become a landmark study."—Andrew Rutherford, Legal Studies
"This is a superbly intelligent study. Its comprehensive coverage makes it a genuine review of the field. Its scholarship and incisiveness of judgment will make it a constant reference work for the initiated, and its concluding theoretical synthesis will make it a challenge and inspiration for those undertaking research and writing on the subject. As a state-of-the-art account it is unlikely to be bettered for many a year."—Rod Morgan, British Journal of Criminology
Winner of both the Outstanding Scholarship Award of the Crime and Delinquency Division of the Society for the Study of Social Problems and the Distinguished Scholar Award from the American Sociological Association's Crime, Law, and Deviance Section
Throughout the nineteenth century the idyllic island of Fernando de Noronha, which lies two hundred miles off Brazil's northeastern coast, was home to Brazil's largest forced labor penal colony. In Punishment in Paradise Peter M. Beattie uses Noronha as a case study to understand nineteenth-century Brazil's varied social and cultural values, especially in relation to justice, class, color, civil condition, human rights and labor. As Brazil’s slave population declined after 1850, the use of colonial-era disciplinary practices at Noronha—such as flogging and forced labor—stoked anxieties about human rights and Brazil’s international image. Beattie contends that the treatment of slaves, convicts, and other social categories subject to coercive labor extraction were interconnected and that reforms that benefitted one of these categories made them harder to deny to others. In detailing Noronha's history and the end of slavery as part of an international expansion of human rights, Beattie places Brazil firmly in the purview of Atlantic history.
The Scale of Imprisonment
Franklin E. Zimring and Gordon J. Hawkins University of Chicago Press, 1991 Library of Congress HV9469.Z56 1991 | Dewey Decimal 365.973
Two of the nation's foremost criminal justice scholars present a comprehensive assessment of the factors behind the growth and subsequent overcrowding of American prisons. By critiquing the existing scholarship on prison scale from sociology and history to correctional forecasting and economics, they both reveal that explicit policy changes have had little influence on the increases in imprisonment in recent years and analyze whether it is possible to place limits effectively on prison population.
"The Scale of Imprisonment has an exceptionally well designed literature review of interest to public policy, criminal justice, and public law scholars. Its careful review, analysis, and critique of research is stimulating and inventive."—American Political Science Review
"The authors fram our thoughts about the soaring use of imprisonment and stimulate our thinking about the best way we as criminologists can conduct rational analysis and provide meaningful advice."—Susan Guarino-Ghezzi, Journal of Quantitative Criminology
"Zimring and Hawkins bring a long tradition of excellent criminological scholarship to the seemingly intractable problems of prisons, prison overcrowding, and the need for alternative forms of punishment."—J. C. Watkins, Jr., Choice
A critical investigation into the use of psychotropic drugs to pacify and control inmates and other captives in the vast U.S. prison, military, and welfare systems
For at least four decades, U.S. prisons and jails have aggressively turned to psychotropic drugs—antidepressants, antipsychotics, sedatives, and tranquilizers—to silence inmates, whether or not they have been diagnosed with mental illnesses. In Silent Cells, Anthony Ryan Hatch demonstrates that the pervasive use of psychotropic drugs has not only defined and enabled mass incarceration but has also become central to other forms of captivity, including foster homes, military and immigrant detention centers, and nursing homes.
Silent Cells shows how, in shockingly large numbers, federal, state, and local governments and government-authorized private agencies pacify people with drugs, uncovering patterns of institutional violence that threaten basic human and civil rights. Drawing on publicly available records, Hatch unearths the coercive ways that psychotropics serve to manufacture compliance and docility, practices hidden behind layers of state secrecy, medical complicity, and corporate profiteering.
Psychotropics, Hatch shows, are integral to “technocorrectional” policies devised to minimize public costs and increase the private profitability of mass captivity while guaranteeing public safety and national security. This broad indictment of psychotropics is therefore animated by a radical counterfactual question: would incarceration on the scale practiced in the United States even be possible without psychotropics?
Stateville penitentiary in Illinois has housed some of Chicago's most infamous criminals and was proclaimed to be "the world's toughest prison" by Joseph Ragen, Stateville's powerful warden from 1936 to 1961. It shares with Attica, San Quentin, and Jackson the notoriety of being one of the maximum security prisons that has shaped the public's conception of imprisonment. In Stateville James B. Jacobs, a sociologist and legal scholar, presents the first historical examination of a total prison organization—administrators, guards, prisoners, and special interest groups.
Jacobs applies Edward Shils's interpretation of the dynamics of mass society in order to explain the dramatic events of the past quarter century that have permanently altered Stateville's structure. With the extension of civil rights to previously marginal groups such as racial minorities, the poor, and, ultimately, the incarcerated, prisons have moved from society's periphery toward its center. Accordingly Stateville's control mechanisms became less authoritarian and more legalistic and bureaucratic. As prisoners' rights increased, the preogatives of the staff were sharply curtailed. By the early 1970s the administration proved incapable of dealing with politicized gangs, proliferating interest groups, unionized guards, and interventionist courts.
In addition to extensive archival research, Jacobs spent many months freely interacting with the prisoners, guards, and administrators at Stateville. His lucid presentation of Stateville's troubled history will provide fascinating reading for a wide audience of concerned readers.
". . . [an] impressive study of a complex social system."—Isidore Silver, Library Journal
Trapped in a Vice explores the consequences of a juvenile justice system that is aimed at promoting change in the lives of young people, yet ultimately relies upon tools and strategies that enmesh them in a system that they struggle to move beyond. The system, rather than the crimes themselves, is the vice. Trapped in a Vice explores the lives of the young people and adults in the criminal justice system, revealing the ways that they struggle to manage the expectations of that system; these stories from the ground level of the justice system demonstrate the complex exchange of policy and practice.
In Turned Inside Out: Reading the Russian Novel in Prison, Steven Shankman reflects on his remarkable experience teaching texts by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Vasily Grossman, and Emmanuel Levinas in prison to a mix of university students and inmates. These persecuted writers—Shankman argues that Dostoevsky’s and Levinas’s experiences of incarceration were formative—describe ethical obligation as an experience of being turned inside out by the face-to-face encounter. Shankman relates this experience of being turned inside out to the very significance of the word “God,” to Dostoevsky’s tormented struggles with religious faith, to Vasily Grossman’s understanding of his Jewishness in his great novel Life and Fate, and to the interpersonal encounters the author has witnessed reading these texts with his students in the prison environment.
Turned Inside Out will appeal to readers with interests in the classic novels of Russian literature, in prisons and pedagogy, or in Levinas and phenomenology. At a time when the humanities are struggling to justify the centrality of their mission in today’s colleges and universities, Steven Shankman by example makes an undeniably powerful case for the transformative power of reading great texts.
Raised in a comfortable Dallas suburb, Mark Dostert crossed cultural and socioeconomic boundaries as a college student by volunteering as a counselor at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, Chicago’s infamous 500-cell juvenile jail, known locally as the Audy Home. Inmates there had been indicted on first-degree murder, rape, and carjacking charges, yet some enthusiastically met with him for weekly Bible-based lessons and discussions. Dostert formed friendly relationships with his students and envisioned becoming an even closer mentor to the legally troubled boys when he became an employee there after graduating from college.
The juveniles’ attitudes toward Dostert change, however, once he begins working as a “Children’s Attendant” at the Audy Home, clocking in for eight hours every day to enforce rules and maintain order on the cellblocks. His colorblind, altruistic volunteer world fractures into a full-time, emotionally charged reality of white and black and brown. When the boys change, he must change too. Despite wanting to help them feel human in such a dehumanizing environment, Dostert realizes he needs to make sure his kindness is not perceived as weakness. Dostert learns to march the juveniles through the facility to school, recreation activities, and chapel. He must strip-search them, interrupt their brawls, root through their cells for drugs and handcrafted weapons, and monitor group showers to thwart sexual extortion and the inscription of gang symbols in soap on walls and mirrors. Week after week and month after month, the job exposes hidden views not only of the juveniles and the “system” incarcerating them, but of Children’s Attendant Dostert himself.
From one man’s struggle to reconcile his humanitarian intentions with his actual job responsibilities in what, to him, is a strange new world, emerges a sincere effort to confront the realities of America’s persisting racial tensions and institutionalized poverty. Dostert’s story is an honest and unflinching journey from thinking he has many of the answers for how to change this world to discovering how little he really knows about the world he is trying to change.
The dramatic increase in U.S. prison populations since the 1970s is often blamed on the mandatory sentencing required by "three strikes" laws and other punitive crime bills. Michael O'Hear shows that the blame is actually not so easily assigned. His meticulous analysis of incarceration in Wisconsin—a state where judges have considerable discretion in sentencing—explores the reasons why the prison population has ballooned nearly tenfold over the past forty years.
O'Hear tracks the effects of sentencing laws and politics in Wisconsin from the eve of the imprisonment boom in 1970 up to the 2010s. Drawing on archival research, original public-opinion polling, and interviews with dozens of key policymakers, he reveals important dimensions that have been missed by others. He draws out lessons from the Wisconsin experience for the United States as a whole, where mass incarceration has cost taxpayers billions of dollars and caused untold misery to millions of inmates and their families.
Women Guarding Men
Lynn Zimmer University of Chicago Press, 1986 Library of Congress HV9470.Z56 1986 | Dewey Decimal 365.6
The hiring of women as guards in men's prisons represents a major breakthrough in women's efforts to achieve full sexual equality in the workplace. This dramatic social change has required great flexibility on the part of the women guards as well as substantial adjustments by their male counterparts, prison administrators, and the inmates themselves. In the first comprehensive study of this phenomenon, Lynn Zimmer examines the experiences of the women and men involved in the painful process of transition from a segregated to an integrated prison environment. Women Guarding Men is significant not only for its vivid depiction of their trials, but for its contribution to a general theory of women's occupational and organizational behavior.