Supermax: Controlling Risk Through Solitary Confinement

Supermax: Controlling Risk Through Solitary Confinement

by Sharon Shalev
Pub. Date:
Taylor & Francis
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Supermax: Controlling Risk Through Solitary Confinement

How does it feel to spend 23 hours a day alone in a small windowless cell with almost no human contact, to communicate with family and friends through a thick glass barrier, and to endure this kind of existence for years on end?

Supermax vividly describes the daily reality of life for the tens of thousands of prisoners labelled the 'worst of the worst' in the American prison system. These prisoners are subjected to strict solitary confinement and extreme measures of control, inspection and surveillance. This book documents how the inflexible, harsh and extreme design of supermaxes, meant to control violence, actually breeds it, whilst causing immense suffering for those within their walls.

Drawing on unique access to supermax prisons and on in-depth interviews-with prison officials, prison architects, current and former prisoners, mental health professionals, penal, legal, and human rights experts-Sharon Shalev offers a nuanced and comprehensive review of the theory, practice and consequences of these prisons. Supermax asks why solitary confinement, which had been discredited in the past, is now proposed as the solution for dealing with 'difficult', 'dangerous' or 'disruptive' prisoners, and assesses the true costs of supermax confinement.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781843924081
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 02/24/2011
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 1,028,185
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: The Supermax Phenomenon 2. Solitary Confinement as a Penal Strategy: A Brief History 3. Factors and Actors in the Rise of Supermax Prisons 4. Ideologies of Control: Discourses on the Goals and Roles of Supermax Prisons 5. The Bureaucratisation of Control: Prisoner Classification and Placement in Supermax Prisons 6. Technologies of Control: The Architectural Design, Physical Fixtures and Security Arrangements in Supermax Prisons 7. Inside a Supermax: Daily Routines and Prisoner Provision 8. The Dynamics of Control: Views from the Control Room, Views from the Cells 9. Evaluating Supermax Confinement

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