The Oxford History of the Prison: The Practice of Punishment in Western Society / Edition 1

The Oxford History of the Prison: The Practice of Punishment in Western Society / Edition 1

by Norval Morris
     
 

ISBN-10: 0195118146

ISBN-13: 9780195118148

Pub. Date: 12/18/1997

Publisher: Oxford University Press

The word "prison" immediately evokes stark images: forbidding walls spiked with watchtowers; inmates confined to cramped cells for hours on end; the suspicious eyes of armed guards. They seem to be the inevitable and permanent marks of confinement, as though prisons were a timeless institution stretching from medieval stone dungeons to the current era

…  See more details below

Overview

The word "prison" immediately evokes stark images: forbidding walls spiked with watchtowers; inmates confined to cramped cells for hours on end; the suspicious eyes of armed guards. They seem to be the inevitable and permanent marks of confinement, as though prisons were a timeless institution stretching from medieval stone dungeons to the current era of steel boxes. But centuries of development and debate lie behind the prison as we now know it—a rich history that reveals how our ideas of crime and practices of punishment have changed over time.

In The Oxford History of the Prison, a team of distinguished scholars offers a vivid account of the rise and development of this critical institution. Penalties other than incarceration were once much more common, from such bizarre death sentences as the Roman practice of drowning convicts in sacks filled with animals to a frequent reliance on the scaffold and on to forms of public shaming (such as the classic stocks of colonial America). The first decades of the nineteenth century saw the rise of the full-blown prison system—and along with it, the idea of prison reform. Alexis de Tocqueville originally came to America to write a report on its widely acclaimed prison system.
The authors trace the persistent tension between the desire to punish and the hope for rehabilitation, recounting the institution's evolution from the rowdy and squalid English jails of the 1700s, in which prisoners and visitors ate and drank together; to the sober and stark nineteenth-century penitentiaries, whose inmates were forbidden to speak or even to see one another; and finally to the "big houses" of the current American prison system, in which prisoners are as overwhelmed by intense boredom as by the threat of violence. The text also provides a gripping and personal look at the social world of prisoners and their keepers over the centuries. In addition, thematic chapters explore in-depth a variety of special institutions and other important aspects of prison history, including the jail, the reform school, the women's prison, political imprisonment, and prison and literature.

Fascinating, provocative, and authoritative, The Oxford History of the Prison offers a deep, informed perspective on the rise and development of one of the central features of modern society—capturing the debates that rage from generation to generation on the proper response to crime.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195118148
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
12/18/1997
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
448
Sales rank:
778,503
Product dimensions:
9.00(w) x 6.10(h) x 1.30(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction
Ch. 1Prison Before the Prison: The Ancient and Medieval Worlds3
Ch. 2The Body and the State: Early Modern Europe49
Ch. 3The Well-Ordered Prison: England, 1780-186579
Ch. 4Perfecting the Prison: United States, 1789-1865111
Ch. 5The Victorian Prison: England, 1865-1965131
Ch. 6The Failure of Reform: United States, 1865-1965169
Ch. 7The Prison on the Continent: Europe, 1865-1965199
Ch. 8The Contemporary Prison: 1965-Present227
Ch. 9The Australian Experience: The Convict Colony263
Ch. 10Local Justice: The Jail297
Ch. 11Wayward Sisters: The Prison for Women329
Ch. 12Delinquent Children: The Juvenile Reform School363
Ch. 13Confining Dissent: The Political Prison391
Ch. 14The Literature of Confinement427
Contributors457
Picture Credits461
Index463

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >