Understanding Prisons: Key Issues in Policy and Practice

Understanding Prisons: Key Issues in Policy and Practice

Understanding Prisons: Key Issues in Policy and Practice

Understanding Prisons: Key Issues in Policy and Practice

Synopsis

"Few people can talk about prisons with the authority and experience that Andrew Coyle brings to his subject. A former prison governor, an academic author, an international activist and a practical reformer, Professor Coyle knows prisons inside and out, home and abroad, past and present. In Understanding Prisons he uses his impressive expertise to guide researchers through the changing world of the English prison. The result is an accessible, up-to-date, and highly informative book that will be welcomed by students and practitioners alike." David Garland, NYU, author of The Culture of Control "Andrew Coyle has drawn on his lifelong experience of governing prisons in Scotland and England and, as the former Director of the International Centre for Prison Studies, Kings College, London, studying prisons worldwide. He has written a comprehensive account of the use of imprisonment and the character of prisons. He persuasively argues that our continued, extensive use of imprisonment cannot simply be explained or justified by the incidence of crime and could otherwise. His book merits close attention." Rod Morgan, Chairman, Youth Justice Board There are over nine million men, women and children in prison around the world, and the number of people in prison in England and Wales has increased significantly in recent years. Yet in many respects prison remains the last secretive public institution in our society. Understanding Prisons provides a unique, in-depth examination of prisons ndash; how they function, what they achieve, and their historical and political context. The book: Describes how prisons developed into their present form Looks at who is sent to prison and what happens to them while they are there Explains how the prison system and staff in England and Wales are organised Examines how order and control is maintained and how high security prisons operate Looks at prisoners' families and the wider community Offers a future vision of the prison system This is essential reading for criminology and sociology students and researchers, criminal justice practitioners, the media and members of the public who are interested in learning more about the closed world of the prison.

Excerpt

This book by Andrew Coyle is the latest in the Crime and Justice series published by Open University Press/McGraw Hill. The series, which was launched in 1996, has become a widely used resource in universities teaching criminology or criminal justice, especially in the UK but increasingly also overseas. The aim from the outset has been to give undergraduates and graduates both a solid grounding in the relevant area and a taste to explore it further. Although aimed primarily at students new to the field, and written as far as possible in plain language, the books are not oversimplified. On the contrary, the authors set out to 'stretch' readers and to encourage them to approach criminological knowledge and theory in a critical and questioning frame of mind.

Andrew Coyle is a former prison governor with wide experience of the realities of the prisons in the UK, and as Director of the International Centre for Prison Studies at King's College London he has built up a rare combination of academic and first hand knowledge about prison systems around the world. His book not only offers a broad introduction to the main themes that are covered in most university courses on imprisonment, but adds his own valuable insights into current national and international policy issues. On the one hand, the book is firmly 'grounded', with informed accounts of the realities of prison life, including chapters on staff, prisoners, daily routines, and regimes in high security prisons. At the same time, the author raises core questions about the political and symbolic uses of imprisonment, considering how and why prisons vary in use and organization in different countries at different times. Particular examples discussed include recent changes in the former Soviet bloc and in developing countries. He tackles further major questions about prisoners' rights, national and international monitoring of prisons, and the prevention of torture. He also focuses on the current trend towards privatization of prisons, and offers his own thoughts on the future.

Other books previously published in the Crime and Justice series–all of . . .

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