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Pain and Retribution: A Short History of British Prisons 1066 to the Present
     

Pain and Retribution: A Short History of British Prisons 1066 to the Present

by David Wilson
 

Today, the Tower of London is a tourist site, home only to the crown jewels, but not long ago the imposing structure held traitors, political prisoners, and more, often on their way to the chopping block. Even outside of this famous building, prisons have changed radically since the Norman Conquest in 1066. In the first book on the history of prisons in Britain,

Overview


Today, the Tower of London is a tourist site, home only to the crown jewels, but not long ago the imposing structure held traitors, political prisoners, and more, often on their way to the chopping block. Even outside of this famous building, prisons have changed radically since the Norman Conquest in 1066. In the first book on the history of prisons in Britain, former prison governor and professor of criminology David Wilson offers unrivaled insight into the penal system in England, Scotland, and Wales, charting the rise and fall of forms of punishments that take place behind their walls.
 
Pain and Retribution explores prisons as an institution and examines how they are designed, organized, and managed. Wilson reveals that prisons have to satisfy the demands of three interested parties: the public, from politicians and media commentators to everyday citizens; the prison staff; and the prisoners themselves. He shows how prevailing concerns and issues of the times allow one faction or another to have more power at varying points in history, and he considers how prisons are unable to satisfy all three at the same time—leading to the system being seen as a failure, despite rising numbers of prisoners and growing funds invested in keeping them incarcerated. With intriguing comparisons between the prisons of New York City and Britain and searching questions about the purposes of the current penal system, Pain and Retribution provides unparalleled access to prison landings, staffs, and the people behind the locked doors.

Editorial Reviews

Choice

“Criminologist and prison reformer Wilson has written a fascinating, multisided view of prisons as they have developed over the centuries, including the Tower of London, Newgate, and Millbank and their successors. . . . Wilson’s treatment is a broad one, and he uses writings of officials, prisoners, and guards, and even describes the effects of reality TV shows on public awareness. It is not a happy story, but Wilson sees hope in a serious commitment to rehabilitation as evidenced by the successful ‘drug courts’ he visited in Brooklyn. An interesting book that will have broad appeal.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781780232836
Publisher:
Reaktion Books, Limited
Publication date:
03/15/2014
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author


David Wilson is director of the Centre for Applied Criminology at Birmingham City University, UK, and vice chair of the Howard League for Penal Reform. He has presented documentaries on several major British networks and is the author of numerous books, including A History of British Serial Killing and Mary Ann Cotton: Britain’s First Female Serial Killer.

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