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The Globalization of Supermax Prisons

Overview

“Supermax” prisons, conceived by the United States in the early 1980s, are typically reserved for convicted political criminals such as terrorists and spies and for other inmates who are considered to pose a serious ongoing threat to the wider community, to the security of correctional institutions, or to the safety of other inmates. Prisoners are usually restricted to their cells for up to twenty-three hours a day and typically have minimal contact with other inmates and correctional staff. Not only does the Federal Bureau of Prisons operate one ...

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The Globalization of Supermax Prisons

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Overview

“Supermax” prisons, conceived by the United States in the early 1980s, are typically reserved for convicted political criminals such as terrorists and spies and for other inmates who are considered to pose a serious ongoing threat to the wider community, to the security of correctional institutions, or to the safety of other inmates. Prisoners are usually restricted to their cells for up to twenty-three hours a day and typically have minimal contact with other inmates and correctional staff. Not only does the Federal Bureau of Prisons operate one of these facilities, but almost every state has either a supermax wing or stand-alone supermax prison.

The Globalization of Supermax Prisons examines why nine advanced industrialized countries have adopted the supermax prototype, paying particular attention to the economic, social, and political processes that have affected each state. Featuring essays that look at the U.S.-run prisons of Abu Ghraib and Guantanemo, this collection seeks to determine if the American model is the basis for the establishment of these facilities and considers such issues as the support or opposition to the building of a supermax and why opposition efforts failed; the allegation of human rights abuses within these prisons; and the extent to which the decision to build a supermax was influenced by developments in the United States. Additionally, contributors address such domestic matters as the role of crime rates, media sensationalism, and terrorism in each country’s decision to build a supermax prison.

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Editorial Reviews

University of Washington, Seattle - Lorna Rhodes

"Jeffrey Ian Ross brings together a wealth of information in an extremely useful and important portrait of global supermax prison proliferation."
author of Supermax: Controlling Risk through Solitary Confinement - Sharon Shalev

"An important and timely collection of essays examining the propagation of the American ‘Supermax’ model around the globe. . . . An essential read for researchers, policy makers and concerned citizens alike."
Choice
"A fine anthology dealing with supermax prisons. The essays provide a wealth of information about why the US and eight other advanced industrialized nations adopted the supermax prototype. These articles are consistently well written and informative, and they raise questions about the efficacy of such prisons. An important read for researchers, policy makers, and concerned citizens. Highly recommended."
Corrections Today

"This is a book that legislators, policymakers, practitioners and students should include on a professional reading list. In order to make more informed decisions regarding policies and procedures in our prison systems, it is important to know the history of our systems and how it impacts operations today."
Crime
"The Globalization of Supermax Prisons is a major contribution, sketching the outlines of the supermax phenomenon not just in the United States, but across the globe. The anthology is also well timed to engage with the growing public realization that the now-familiar abuses at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo have their parallel counterparts in domestic U.S. prison."
Critical Criminology

"The collection draws attention to a troubling potential trend and a complex problem of contemporary social life and thus offers an important contribution to penal and socio-political studies."
Crime

"The Globalization of Supermax Prisons is a major contribution, sketching the outlines of the supermax phenomenon not just in the United States, but across the globe. The anthology is also well timed to engage with the growing public realization that the now-familiar abuses at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo have their parallel counterparts in domestic U.S. prison."
Choice

"A fine anthology dealing with supermax prisons. The essays provide a wealth of information about why the US and eight other advanced industrialized nations adopted the supermax prototype. These articles are consistently well written and informative, and they raise questions about the efficacy of such prisons. An important read for researchers, policy makers, and concerned citizens. Highly recommended."
Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare

"This book is a fascinating comparative examination of the worldwide proliferation of supermax prisons. The Globalization of Supermax Prisons is a must-read for any student, practitioner, or scholar of punishment and correctional practices."
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Product Details

Meet the Author

JEFFREY IAN ROSS is a professor in the School of Criminal Justice and a fellow of the Center for International and Comparative Law at the University of Baltimore. He is the author, coauthor, editor, or coeditor of numerous books, including Beyond Bars: Rejoining Society after Prison, Convict Criminology, and Special Problems in Corrections.

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Table of Contents


Foreword: Probing the Meta-Prison, by Loic Wacquant
Acknowledgments

1. The Globalization of Supermax Prisons: An Introduction, by Jeffrey Ian Ross
2. The Invention of the American Supermax Prison, by Jeffrey Ian Ross
3. How Canada Built Its Supermax Prison, by Jeffrey Ian Ross
4. Supermaxes South of the Border, by Patrick O'Day and Thomas O'Connor
5. The Growth of the Supermax Option in Britain, by Angela West Crews
6. Analyzing the Supermax Prisons in the Netherlands: The Dutch Supermax, by Sandra L. Resodihardjo
7. Supermaximum Prisons in South Africa, by Fran Buntman and Lukas Muntingh
8. From "Secondary Punishment" to "Supermax": The Human Costs of High-Security Regimes in Australia, by David Brown and Bree Carlton
9. The Emergence of the Supermax in New Zealand, by Greg Newbold
10. The Rise of the Supermax in Brazil, by Jose de Jesus Filho
11. Guantanamo: America's Foreign  Supermax in the Fight Against Terrorism, by Jeffrey Ian Ross and Dawn L. Rothe
12. A Globalized Militarized Prison Juggernaut: The Case of Abu Ghraib, by Dawn L. Rothe
13. Conclusion: Globalization, Innovation, or Neither?, by Jeffrey Ian Ross

Notes
References
Notes on Contributors

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