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The Prison System

Books and Articles

Amnesty International. United States of America: Rights for All. Amnesty International Publications, 1998.
  This report reveals the persistent and widespread pattern of human rights violations in the USA. Focusing on police brutality, it highlights the physical and sexual abuse of prisoners, many of who are held in inhumane and degrading conditions. The report also examines the treatment of immigrants and how death row operates.
Baun, N. and Brooke, B. Trading Books for Bars. Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, 1994.
  Repost on the funding battle between prisons and universities: projected increases in spending on prisons and how they will affect higher education.
Chevigny, Bell Gale (ed) and Helen Prejean (see also Writings by Prisoners). Doing Time: 25 Years of Prison Writing: A Pen American Center Prize Anthology. Arcade Publishing, 2000.
  An Anthology featuring writings from death row inmates, POWs of the drug war, and more.
Churchill, Ward and J. J. Vander Wall, eds. Cages of Steel. Maisonneuve Press, 1992.
  The politics of imprisonment in the United States. Documents a systematic program to isolate political prisoners and subject them to psychological experiments designed to breakdown their ability to organize political action with others.
Cole, David. No Equal Justice: Race and Class in the American Criminal Justice System. The New Press, 2000.
  A critique of how the criminal justice system perpetuates and thrives on race and class inequality and how a two-tiered system of justice has been created.
Criminal Justice Consortium. The Criminal Justice Process / Over-Reliance on Prisons / Alternatives to Incarceration. Criminal Justice Consortium, 1996.
Foucault, Michel. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Random House, 1977.
  Punishment has shifted from the prisoner’s body to his/her soul.
Garland, David (see also Racism/Colonial Control/Prisons). The Culture of Control: Crime and Social Order in the Contemporary Society. University of Chicago Press, 2001.
  This book connects the over-reliance on incarceration, the routinization of capital punishment, the "penal mesh" throughout society, with the market polices and neoconservativism that dominate the US and UK.
Gordon, Robert Ellis. The Funhouse Mirror: Reflections on Prison. Washington State University Press, 2000.
  Gordon ran intensive writing workshops in Washington State Prisons for nine years. He uses this book to explore the prison experience from both inside and outside of prison.
Hallinan, Joseph T. Going up the River: Travels in a Prison Nation. Random House, 2001.
  Hallinan looks at prisons that were built "not because it was needed but because it was wanted-by politicians who thought it would bring them votes, by voters who hoped it would bring them jobs, and by a corrections establishment that no longer believed in correction." He addresses the prison boom: facilities quickly built for economic reasons, resulting in poor prison conditions and a system so lucrative that its founders have become rich. The author also looks at the stories of current wardens, guards, inmates and townspeople living in the shadow of a prison.
Hornblum, Allen. Acres of Skin: Human Experiments at Holmesburg Prison. Routledge Press, 1998.
  An expose on the widespread practice of using American prisoners in medical and military experiments which took place through the mid 1970s.
Human Rights Watch (see also Mental Health and Prisons). U.S.: Cold Storage- Supermaximum Security in Indiana. 1997.
  Visiting two supermaximum security prisons in Indiana, the Human Rights Watch examined inhumane treatment prisoners receive. The prisoners in those facilities spend an average of 23 hours a day in a small, often windowless cells, facing years of extreme social isolation, enforced idleness, and limited recreational or educational opportunities. The Human Rights Watch pays special attention to the treatment of those with pre-existing mental illnesses.
Human Rights Watch. Prison Conditions in the United States: A Human Rights Watch Report. 1991.
Irwin, John et al. It's About Time: America's Imprisonment Binge. Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1994.
  Critical analysis of American prison system and a case against the reliance on prisons as the main answer to the nation's crime problem.
James, Joy, ed. (see also Racism/Colonial Control/Prisons). States of Confinement: Policing, Detention, and Prisons. St. Martin’s Press, 2000.
  This book explores the economic and racial biases underlying policing and incarceration in the United States. Contained essays are divided into five categories: Executions, Blacks and Criminal Justice, Gender, Sexuality and Confinement, Policing, and Political Repression and Resistance. Contributors include Angela Davis, Manning Marable, Luana Ross, Julie Su, and Judi Bari.
James, Joy. Resisting State Violence. University of Minnesota Press, 1997.
  This collection of essays explores interconnections between violence, political oppression, and U.S. foreign and domestic politics in the contemporary era.
Lichtenstein, Alex. Twice the Work of Free Labor: The Political Economy of Convict Labor in the New South. The Free Press, 1997.
  A historic analysis of modern prison slave labors’ roots in chattel slavery. The book focuses on prison plantations and self-sustaining prisons. Oshinsky analyzes the impact of segregation on ensuring blacks were imprisoned and their labor exploited.
Maur, Marc and Meda Chesney-Lind, eds. (see also Youth). Invisible Punishment: The Collateral Consequences of Mass Imprisonment. The New York Press, 2002.
  This book contains essays from leading scholars and advocates about the far-reaching consequences of mass incarceration, exploring the impact of “tough on crime” policies on prisoners, ex-felons, families and communities.
Parenti, Christian. Lockdown America: Police and Prisons in the Age of Crisis. Verso Books, 2000.
  Parenti argues against the increasing militarization of our everyday lives. He believes that prisons today are about everything but individual reform and poses the questions, “at what present and future costs are we enjoying safer streets?”
Rafter, Nicole Hahn. Prisons In America: A Reference Handbook. Abe Clio, 1999.
  Rafter presents an overview of the prison system since colonial times with discussion on the debate over rehabilitation versus punishment; biographies of key figures; a chronology of notable events in penal history; current data on sentencing, prison system growth, and prisoner characteristics; information on prisoners’ rights, famous legal gases, and policy changes; a directory of professional organizations and agencies; and lists of print and nonprint resources. The book also discusses critical prison problems today such as overcrowding, operational costs, three-strikes legislation, units for special populations such as inmates with AIDS and the criminally insane; and new penal trends, programs and services.
Rose, Daniel Burton, Dan Pens, and Paul Wright. The Celling of America: An Inside Look at the U.S Prison Industry. Common Courage Press, 1998.
  In eight chapters, the book looks inside the workings of the American criminal justice system today.
Rosenblatt, Elihu(ed). Criminal Injustice: Conforming the Prison Crisis. South End Press, 1997.
  This book covers a plethora a prison issues from the economic role of U.S. prisons to the inhumane conditions in prisons to health care problems.
Sabo, Donald F., Terry A. Kupers, and Willie London (eds). Prison Masculinities. Temple University Press, 2001.
  This book discusses how notions of "manhood" evolved and how it works within the framework of economic and social limitations. It examines the effects of masculinity on aspects of inmates’ lives such as race, health, sexuality, prison
Scheck, Barry, Peter Neufeld, and Jim Dwyer. Actual Innocence: Five Days to Execution and Other Dispatches the Wrongly Convicted. Doubleday, 2000.
  Attorneys explain how criminal defendants are wrongly convicted on a regular basis. The book offers an explanation of DNA testing and how it works to free the innocent, critiques police and prosecutorial misconduct, and calls for criminal justice reform.
Stamoulis, Arthur (see also Racism/Colonial Control/Prisons). Perpetuating Crime, Consolidating Power: The Race and Class Logic of Mass Incarceration. An Interview with Paul Wright. Common Courage Press.
  Wright discusses racism, class struggle, brutality, AIDS, political prisoners, and censorship as essential elements of the criminal justice system. Also available in audio cassette.
Welch, Michael (see also Youth). Corrections: A Critical Approach. Temple University Press, 1996.

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