Prisons in America

Prisons in America

Prisons in America

Prisons in America

Synopsis

"Marilyn D. McShane explains the controversies and issues surrounding not only the development of corrections systems in America but the most enduring problems they face. She utilizes a systems view that incorporates the external and internal factors that effect how prisons operate. Attempts to resolve the continuing political, economic, and philosophic dilemmas of incarceration involve complex motives and competing interests that are described in detail. Related legislation, law cases, and social trends are also analyzed. Students will be aided by study questions, supporting web site information and references to popular media sources that coincide with the points raised in Prisons in America. The resulting book gives an overview of the development of corrections in America and a detailed, multi-faceted discussion of its current state."

Excerpt

The prison is a very dynamic environment. Policies, legislation, staffing demographics, the law and other outside influences evolve and are continuously reinterpreted. In communities across the country, prisons blend local history and ancient suffering with the politics of contemporary bipartisanship. Still, there is no doubt that even though the architecture and technology changes and the demographics of the inmate population shift, there is great similarity between the first American prison and the institutions we encounter today.

Prisons rarely enter the news unless there is some type of scandal, escape, or violent event thus they are misunderstood and often maligned. Day after day, dedicated employees struggle to maintain the health and safety of those incarcerated even though they are overruled and micromanaged by forces with much less knowledge about how prisons can function effectively. The failure to allow experts in corrections to manage corrections is a perennial complaint and one that has perhaps kept prisons from fulfilling their rehabilitative potential.

This textbook strives to present a very basic picture of the framework of institutional corrections so that the forces that shape its character are evident to the beginning student of criminal justice. To understand the functions of the prisons of the past as well as those today, it is important to appreciate the context in which they operate. As any scholar of prisons will tell you, it’s not really about the inmates after all.

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