Prison and Corrections Issues

Further Reading for Victim/Survivors & Facilitators

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Bayse, Daniel J. Helping Hands: A Handbook for Volunteers in Prisons and Jails, American Correctional Association, 1993.

This publication is a practical guide for volunteers in correctional settings. Bayse discusses the criminal justice system, security issues, inmate slang and reasons for crime. He also offers suggestions on understanding the criminal personality, communicating with inmates and preventing manipulation. Bayse discusses the criminal justice system, security issues, inmate slang and reasons for crime. He also offers suggestions on understanding the criminal personality, communicating with inmates and preventing manipulation.


Braswell, Michael, Fuller, John, and Lozoff, Bo. Corrections, Peacemaking, and Restorative Justice, Anderson, 2001.

Intends to view peacemaking as a broad, encompassing process that is expressed in many different shapes and forms. This book blends ancient-wisdom traditions, peacemaking criminology, and restorative justice principles as a way of intervening with offenders in both institutional and community-based settings.


Casarjian, Robin. Houses of Healing: A Prisoner’s Guide to Inner Power and Freedom, Lionheart, 1995.

Through the use of mindfulness-based practices, research driven approaches to behavior change, the inspiration derived from first-hand accounts of other prisoners, and the fostering of a real sense of hopefulness, the Houses of Healing book/curriculum/program has met with great success.  It draws the readers in by speaking clearly and directly to the situations and feelings that almost all incarcerated men and women struggle with. It guides and supports prisoners in confronting issues such as childhood wounding, grieving, managing anger, facing the impact of crime, and taking ultimate responsibility for themselves and their actions.


Cayley, David. The Expanding Prison: The Crisis in Crime and Punishment and the Search for Alternatives, House of Anasi, Canada, 1998.

In The Expanding Prison, Cayley investigates the immediate causes of the prison crisis in 1998 and examines the history of crime and punishment.  He argues that our overpopulated prisons are more reflective of a society that is becoming increasingly polarized than an actual surge in crime.  He reveals provocative ways of construing crime and considers proven alternatives to imprisonment—alternatives that emphasize restitution and repentance rather than retribution.


Chevigny, Bell Gale. Doing Time: 25 Years of Prison Writing, Arcade, [1999] 2011.

This collection of the best of PEN’s annual prison writing contest celebrates 51 writers and their ability not only to write with passion and eloquence but also to create art in the most dire of circumstances.   For prison writers, it means more than serving a sentence; it means staying alive and sane, preserving dignity, reinventing oneself, and somehow retaining one’s humanity.  For the last quarter century the prestigious writers’ organization PEN has sponsored a contest for writers behind bars to help prisoners face these challenges.  Bell Chevigny, a former prison teacher, in 1999 selected the best of these submissions from over the previous 25 years to create Doing Time: 25 Years of Prison Writing, a vital work, demonstrating that prison writing is a vibrant part of American literature. This 2011 edition contains updated biographies of all contributors. The 51 original prisoners contributing to this volume deliver surprising tales, lyrics, and dispatches from an alien world covering the life span of imprisonment, from terrifying initiations to poignant friendships, from confrontations with family to death row, and sometimes share extraordinary breakthroughs. With 1.8 million men and women?roughly the population of Houston?In American jails and prisons, we must listen to?this small country of throwaway people,? in Prejean?s words. Doing Time frees them from their sentence of silence. We owe it to ourselves to listen to their voices.


Conover, Ted. New Jack: Guarding Sing Sing, Vintage, 2001.

Journalist Conover sets a standard for reporting when he applies for a job as a prison officer.  So begins his odyssey at Sing Sing, once a model prison but now the New York State’s most troubled maximum-security facility. The result of his year there is this remarkable look at one of America’s most dangerous prisons, where drugs, gang wars, and sex are rampant, and where the line between violator and violated is often unclear. As sobering as it is suspenseful, New Jack is an indispensable contribution to the urgent debate about our country’s criminal justice system, and a consistently fascinating read.


Duff, A., Marshall, S., Dobash, R.E. and R.P. (Editors). Penal Theory and Practice: Tradition and Innovation in Criminal Justice, Manchester University, U.K., 1994.

Offers an interdisciplinary perspective on the crisis in penal policy facing the governments of both Britain and the United States. Some of the issues addressed include: sentencing guidelines; the organization of prisons and their function; and the use of non-custodial sentences.


Elsner, Alan. Gates of Injustice: The Crisis in America’s Prisons, Prentice Hall, 2004.

Examines the American prison system, where rapes, assaults, and deaths are regular occurrences, as well as the powerful political and social forces driving imprisonment. This book charts the negative impact on both inmates and society of what is essentially a wasteful and inhumane system, and offers a series of practical proposals for reform.


Gilligan, James. Violence: Our Deadly Epidemic and Its Causes, Putnam, 1996.

As he tells the stories of the men he treated at a hospital for the criminally insane, Dr. Gilligan traces the devastating links between violence and shame.  He shows how that deadly emotion drives people to destroy others and even themselves rather than suffer a loss of self-respect.


Hallinen, Joseph T. Going Up the River: Travels in a Prison Nation, Random House, 2001.

The American prison system has grown tenfold in thirty years, while crime rates have been relatively flat: 2 million people are behind bars on any given day, more prisoners than in any other country in the world — half a million more than in Communist China, and the largest prison expansion the world has ever known.   The author addresses the question: What, in human terms, is the price we pay for this extensive incarceration? He has looked for answers to that question in every corner of the “prison nation,” a world far off the media grid — the America of struggling towns and cities left behind by the information age and desperate for jobs and money. Hallinan explores why the more prisons we build, the more prisoners we create.  He believes we are placating everyone at the expense of the voiceless prisoners, who together make up one of the largest migrations in our nation’s history.


Morris, Norval, and Rothman, David J. (Editors). The Oxford History of the Prison: The Practice of Punishment in Western Society, Oxford University, 1997.

Ranging from ancient times to the present, a survey of the evolution of the prison explores its relationship to the history of Western criminal law and offers a look at the social world of prisoners over the centuries.  Chapters include:

    • Introduction /​ Norval Morris and David J. Rothman
    • Ch. 1. Prison Before the Prison: The Ancient and Medieval Worlds /​ Edward M. Peters
    • Ch. 2. The Body and the State: Early Modern Europe /​ Pieter Spierenburg
    • Ch. 3. The Well-Ordered Prison: England, 1780-1865 /​ Randall McGowen
    • Ch. 4. Perfecting the Prison: United States, 1789-1865 /​ David J. Rothman
    • Ch. 5. The Victorian Prison: England, 1865-1965 /​ Sean McConville
    • Ch. 6. The Failure of Reform: United States, 1865-1965 /​ Edgardo Rotman
    • Ch. 7. The Prison on the Continent: Europe, 1865-1965 /​ Patricia O’Brien
    • Ch. 8. The Contemporary Prison: 1965-Present /​ Norval Morris
    • Ch. 9. The Australian Experience: The Convict Colony /​ John Hirst
    • Ch. 10. Local Justice: The Jail /​ Sean McConville
    • Ch. 11. Wayward Sisters: The Prison for Women /​ Lucia Zedner
    • Ch. 12. Delinquent Children: The Juvenile Reform School /​ Steven Schlossman
    • Ch. 13. Confining Dissent: The Political Prison /​ Aryeh Neier.
    • Ch. 14. The Literature of Confinement /​ W. B. Carnochan.


Rideau, Wilbert, and Wikberg, Ron. Life Sentences: Rage and Survival Behind Bars, Times Books, 1992.

Drawing on their award-winning reporting for the Louisiana State Penitentiary’s uncensored news magazine, The Angolite, Wilbert Rideau and Ron Wikberg present the stark reality of life behind bars and the human, political, and fiscal costs of our long-running war on crime. Includes the stories: The Farrar legacy ; the legend of Leadbelly;  Angola’s history;  Phelps: five years later;  Conversations with the dead;  The sexual jungle;  The escape of nigger Joe;  The dynamics of parole;  The fiscal crunch;  Dying in prison;  Maggio retires;  The wall of reality;  Butler’s park;  The pelican protector;  A labor of love;  The long-termers;  Hollywood comes to Angola;  The omen;  Prisonomics;  House of the damned;  The deadliest prosecutor;  The horror show; The deathmen,  and more.


Tonry, Michael, and Petersilia, J. (Editors). Prisons: Crime and Justice, University of Chicago, 1999.

This volume discusses the use of imprisonment as a means of social control, analyzing issues such as the effects of imprisonment on the children of inmates, the relationship between prisons and the surrounding communities, medical care in prisons, prisoner suicide and coping.  It includes the following articles:

    • Preface
    • American prisons at the beginning of the twenty-first century /​ Michael Tonry and Joan Petersilia
    • Population growth in U.S. prisons, 1980-1996 /​ Alfred Blumstein and Allen J. Beck
    • Understanding prison policy and population trends /​ Theodore Caplow and Jonathan Simon
    • Collateral consequences of imprisonment for children, communities, and prisoners /​ John Hagan and Ronit Dinovitzer
    • Prison management trends, 1975-2025 /​ Chase Riveland
    • Interpersonal violence and social order in prisons /​ Anthony E. Bottoms
    • Prison suicide and prisoner coping /​ Alison Liebling
    • Adult correctional treatment /​ Gerald G. Gaes, Timothy J. Flanagan, Laurence L. Motiuk, and Lynn Stewart
    • Medical care in prisons /​ Douglas C. McDonald
    • Parole and prisoner reentry in the United States /​ Joan Petersilia



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