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Reform in the Making: The Implementation of Social Policy in Prison
     

Reform in the Making: The Implementation of Social Policy in Prison

by Ann Chih Lin
 

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Is it time to give up on rehabilitating criminals? Record numbers of Americans are going to prison, and most of them will eventually return to society with a high chance of becoming repeat offenders. But a decision to abandon rehabilitation programs now would be premature warns Ann Chih Lin, who finds that little attention has been given to how these programs are

Overview

Is it time to give up on rehabilitating criminals? Record numbers of Americans are going to prison, and most of them will eventually return to society with a high chance of becoming repeat offenders. But a decision to abandon rehabilitation programs now would be premature warns Ann Chih Lin, who finds that little attention has been given to how these programs are actually implemented and why they tend to fail. In Reform in the Making, she not only supplies much-needed information on the process of program implementation but she also considers its social context, the daily realities faced by prison staff and inmates. By offering an in-depth look at common rehabilitation programs currently in operation--education, job training, and drug treatment--and examining how they are used or misused, Lin offers a practical approach to understanding their high failure rate and how the situation could be improved.

Based on extensive observation and over 350 interviews with staff and prisoners in five medium-security male prisons, the book contrasts successfully implemented programs with subverted, abandoned, or neglected programs (those which staff reject or which do not teach prisoners anything useful). Lin explains that staff and prisoners have little patience with programs aimed at long-range goals when they must face the ongoing, immediate challenge of surviving prison life. Finding incentives to make both sides participate fully in rehabilitation is among the book's many contributions to improving prison policy.

Editorial Reviews

Law and Politics Book Review - Malcolm M. Feeley
An important and convincing book. . . . A welcome addition to the literature on both the implementation of social policy and the study of prisons. . . . Thoughtful and well-conceived.
Contemporary Sociology - Larry E. Sullivan
Lin's acceptance of the problem of any general rehabilitative program in prison is her strong point, and the great value of this book. Putting grand theory behind helps to point the way out of the miasma and double-bind of prison life.
From the Publisher

"An important and convincing book. . . . A welcome addition to the literature on both the implementation of social policy and the study of prisons. . . . Thoughtful and well-conceived."--Malcolm M. Feeley, Law and Politics Book Review

"Lin's acceptance of the problem of any general rehabilitative program in prison is her strong point, and the great value of this book. Putting grand theory behind helps to point the way out of the miasma and double-bind of prison life."--Larry E. Sullivan, Contemporary Sociology

Law and Politics Book Review
An important and convincing book. . . . A welcome addition to the literature on both the implementation of social policy and the study of prisons. . . . Thoughtful and well-conceived.
— Malcolm M. Feeley
Contemporary Sociology
Lin's acceptance of the problem of any general rehabilitative program in prison is her strong point, and the great value of this book. Putting grand theory behind helps to point the way out of the miasma and double-bind of prison life.
— Larry E. Sullivan

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781400823673
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
06/10/2002
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
232
File size:
938 KB

What People are Saying About This

Brodkin
Reform in the Making is based on rich empirical detail from which the author constructs an account of rehabilitation programs in the specific context of prison life. The mundane realities of 'doing time' both as prisoner and as prison employee are carefully described. So too are the dilemmas of wrestling with the dual challenges of surviving and attaining some degree of satisfaction under daunting conditions. The book's case studies make a valuable empirical contribution to implementation studies, and especially to the growing body of work adopting a 'street-level' perspective.
Evelyn Z. Brodkin, University of Chicago
Evelyn Z. Brodkin
Reform in the Making is based on rich empirical detail from which the author constructs an account of rehabilitation programs in the specific context of prison life. The mundane realities of 'doing time' both as prisoner and as prison employee are carefully described. So too are the dilemmas of wrestling with the dual challenges of surviving and attaining some degree of satisfaction under daunting conditions. The book's case studies make a valuable empirical contribution to implementation studies, and especially to the growing body of work adopting a 'street-level' perspective.
Kathleen McDermott
Ann Chih Lin reopens the debate on rehabilitation while recognizing all the pitfalls that occurred under the concept of rehabilitation, such as indeterminate sentencing. She effectively uses implementation theory and aptly applies it to penal theory. Her book could become standard reading on penology and criminal justice in the United States.
Kathleen McDermott, Columbia University

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