Ironies of Imprisonment examines in-depth an array of problems confronting correctional programs and policies from the author’s singular and consistent critical viewpoint. The book challenges the prevailing logic of mass incarceration and traces the ironies of imprisonment to their root causes, manifesting in social, political, economic, and racial inequality. Unique and accessible, this book promises to stimulate spirited discussion and debate over the use of prisons.
Karen Shook, a 44-year old single mother of three, was sentenced to prison for 20 to 40 years. She was convicted of conspiring to sell two and a half ounces of cocaine, her first offense. Naturally, she feels that her sentence is unduly harsh, especially considering that she operated only as an intermediary and that the main player in the drug transaction was assigned a 3-year prison term. “I got longer than most people get for violent crimes” (Butterfield, 2003a). After serving 10 years, however, Shook was released after Michigan lawmakers embarked on sweeping changes that altered the state's mandatory minimum sentences for drug violations, known as the toughest in the nation. Legislative rewriting of its drug laws did not mark a ...