For the first time in four decades, prison populations are declining and politicians have reached the consensus that mass imprisonment is no longer sustainable. At this unique moment in the history of corrections, the opportunity has emerged to discuss in meaningful ways how best to shape efforts to control crime and to intervene effectively with offenders. This breakthrough book brings together established correctional scholars to imagine what this prison future might entail. Each scholar uses his or her expertise to craft—in an accessible way for students to read—a blueprint for how to create a new penology along a particular theme. For example, one contributor writes about how to use existing research expertise to create a prison that is therapeutic and another provides insight on how to create a “feminist” prison. In the final chapter the editors pull together the “lessons learned” in a cohesive, comprehensive essay.

The Therapeutic Prison

The Therapeutic Prison

The therapeutic prison
Paula Smith Myrinda Schweitzer

Editors' Introduction

It is instructive that American prisons are not known as “punishment facilities” or even as “justice facilities.” Rather, when originally invented, they were conceptualized as “penitentiaries” and then later earned the name of “correctional institutions.” Such choice of words reflects Americans' long-standing belief that prisons should not function simply as instruments to deliver retribution or as cages in which to constrain the wicked. Rather, “penitentiary” and “corrections” convey the hope that prisons will serve the broader social purpose of transforming the criminally wayward into law-abiding citizens. Notably, opinion polls from the 1960s onward repeatedly show that the public wishes rehabilitation to be a core emphasis ...

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