Explaining U.S. Imprisonment examines women in prison, minorities, the historical path to the modern prison, a wide range of contemporary issues, and social influences on prison reform. While focusing on prisons, this one-of-a-kind book is written within the context of the sociology of punishment and covers cutting-edge topics such as detaining immigrants, the War on Terror, and prison in the 21st century.

Features

  • Uses a historical and social framework to place U.S. corrections and imprisonment policies in context
  • Includes first-hand accounts from inmates, as well as primary source documents written by early prison reformers
  • Integrates research on women, men, and minorities throughout, rather than separating each topic into a stand-alone chapter
  • Begins chapters with thought-provoking quotes to set the stage for the content that follows

Explaining U.S. Imprisonment is ideal for use as a supplementary text in undergraduate and graduate courses on corrections, imprisonment, and theories of punishment. It is also appropriate for use in courses on criminal justice, incarceration, minority issues in law, sociology of law, and the study of the modern prison system.

Prison Culture: Sociology and Social Change
Prison culture: Sociology and social change

Unable to escape either physically or psychologically, lacking the cohesion to carry through an insurrection that is bound to fail in any case, and bereft of faith in peaceful innovation, the inmate population might seem to have no recourse but the simple endurance of the pains of imprisonment… But if the rigors of confinement cannot be completely removed, they can at least be mitigated by the patterns of social interaction established among the inmates themselves.

—Sykes, 1958, p. 82

[T]he old picture of the prison as an inclusive normative and moral community toward which the individual had to take a stance is no longer accurate. The prison is now a conflict-ridden setting where the major battles ...

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