Original essays by corrections experts The United States has the lightest incarceration rate in the world and crime is one of the major driving forces of political discourse throughout the country. Information about penal institutions, imprisonment, and prisoners is important to everyone, from judges on the bench to citizens on the street. Now for the first time, a comprehensive reference work presents a full overview of incarceration in America. TheEncyclopediafeatures original essays by leading U. S. corrections experts, who offer historical perspectives, insights into how and why the present prison system developed, where we are today, and where we are likely to be in the future. Every important aspect of American prisons is covered, from the handling of convicts with AIDS to juvenile delinquents behind bars, from boot camps to life without parole, from racial conflict to sexual exploitation. Features more than 160 signed articles More than 160 signed articles byrecognized authorities are presented alphabetically by topic. The articles, ranging from 1,000 to 6,000 words, provide an overview of each subject and include a selective bibliography. The coverage introduces readers to individuals noted for their work with prisons (James Bennett, Dorothea Dix, Howard Gill); facilities renowned for setting precedents (Walnut Street Jail, Alcatraz, Marion); current policy, procedure, and program-oriented descriptions (contraband, boot camps, classification, technology); concise discussions of current prison issues (prisoners' rights, gangs, visits by the children of incarcerated women). Frequently the articles chart the historical evolution of a subject area, explore current issues, and predict future trends. Discusses vital issues The Encyclopedia also surveys and analyzes policies and procedures used in the past, such as chain gangs, building tenders, and "Sacred Straight" programs, as well as legislation that has shaped prison policy (such as theAshurst-Summers Act and the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act). Offering a wealth of useful facts, this important new reference work contains a comprehensive name and subject index, internal cross-references, and a chronology of important events in prison history. The coverage encompasses historical and contemporary aspects of correctional institutions in the United States, discusses vital issues, and reports on the latest reaching findings. Photos of notable people and facilities accompany the text. This unique work fills a substantial reference need. Government officials, librarians, teachers, students, and professionals working within the corrections field will the coverage invaluable.