(see also Capital Punishment, Prison Reform, California Prisons, Prisoners' Rights Movement & Restorative Justice)
The US now has more than two million people behind bars, a higher percentage of its population than any other country. Prisons are concerned more with punishment than with rehabilitation & reintegration into society. They are also increasingly privatized -- operated for profit by private corporations; & low-wage prison labor now performs many functions in the economy. Prisons are rife with violent crime & drug use, & contribute greatly to hardening anti-social attitudes in the people confined within them. In much of the country ex-felons, those who have "paid their debt to society" & been released, are still denied key rights of American citizenship.
Prisoners' Inventions: Drawings & Descriptions. Angelo (2004).
The Prison Industrial Complex & the Global Economy. Eve Goldberg & Linda Evans, Global Exchange (2003).
Seeking Data on the Drug War's Child Casualties. George Sánchez, Mother Jones (7/24/02).
Corrections, Inc. John Biewen, American Radio Works [text & audio] (3/02). Corporate-sponsored crime laws, retention of requisitioned property by police agencies, CA prison guards' union.
Tijuana's Live-In 'Prison Angel': American Nun Brings Hope to Inmates on Border. Mary Jordan, Washington Post (4/10/02). Story of nun who lives in prison, aiding both guards and prisoners.
Debt to Society. The Real Cost of Prisons. Mother Jones special report (2000). Provides state-by-state data on numbers of prisoners & rising cost of imprisonment.
No Escape: Male Rape in US Prisons. Human Rights Watch (2001).
Prisoner Reentry in Perspective. William Sabol & James Lynch (2001).
The Prison Industrial Complex & the Global Economy. Eve Goldberg & Linda Evans, Prison Activist Resource Center (199?).
On the Web: Specialized Sites
Debt to Society (Mother Jones).
Prison Watch (Netherlands).
In the Library: Articles
Angelo, "Bighousekeeping," Harper's (11/03):26-29. Creative adaptation to prison life.
Bates, Eric. “CCA, the sequel,” Nation (6/7/99):22-23.
Beiser, Vince. "Pensioners or prisoners?" Nation (5/17/99):28-30. Problems of an ageing prison population.
Berger, Vivian. "Sentenced to rape," National Law Journal 24,20 (1/21/02). Review essay on Human Rights Watch report, No Escape: Male Rape in US Prisons.
Bloomer, Kristin. "America's newest growth industry," In These Times (3/17/97).
Bruner, Jerome. "Do not pass go," NY Review (9/25/03):42-45.
Cusack, Anne-Marie. "The devils chair," Progressive (5/00). On use & abuse of "restraint chairs," which have caused deaths of many prisoners.
Cusack, Anne-Marie. "The judge gave me ten years: he didn't sentence me to death," Progressive (7/00):22-26.
Davis, Mike. "Hell factories in the field: a prison-industrial complex," Nation (2/20/95).
Drinan, Robert. "The dreadful US prison scene," National Catholic Reporter (12/13/02).
Gilmore, Ruth Wilson. "Globalization & US prison growth: from military Keynesianism to post-Keynesian militarism," Race & Class 40,2-3 (10/98-3/99).
Good, Regan. "The supermax solution," Nation (3/3/03):7.
Greenberg, David F. & Fay Stender. "The prison as a lawless agency," Buffalo Law Review 855 (1972).
Haney, Craig & Mona Lynch. "Regulating prisons of the future: a psychological analysis of supermax & solitary confinement," NYU Review of Law & Social Change 23 (1997):477-570.
Jonasson, Patrik. "As prisoners age, should they go free?" Christian Science Monitor (9/5/03):1,4.
Kennedy, Miranda. "Prison profiteers," In These Times (10/15/01):7-8.
Light, Julie. "Look for that prison label," Progressive (6/00).
Mason, J.W. "The gulag society," In These Times (8/19/96):
Mauer, Marc. "The color line," Crisis (5-6/03):16-17.
Maynard, Joyce. "Innocent abroad," Nation (1/13/03): 6-7,31.
McCarthy, Colman. "Cons teach cons peace," Progressive (7/97).
Ratner, Lizzy. "Out of prison, into a business crusade," Christian Science Monitor (11/3/03).
Rubinstein, Annette T. "Attica now," MR 27,8(1/76):12-20.
Shane, Scott. "US prisoner rate leads world," San Jose Mercury (6/1/03):7A-8A.
Spanberg, Erik. "Shadows over a new season," Christian Science Monitor (10/31/03):13-16.
Talvi, Silja J.A. "Sex behind bars. Prison guards arent being prosecuted for raping inmates," In These Times (8/20/01):7-8.
Vogel, Richard D. "Capitalism & incarceration," Monthly Review 34,10 (3/83):30-41.
Wiltenburg, Mary. "Inside prison, outside the law," Christian Science Monitor (9/11/03):12-13. On murder in a Massachusetts prison of pedophile priest John Geoghan, & its implications.
In the Library: Non-Fiction Books
Abbott, Jack Henry. In the Belly of the Beast: Letters From Prison (NY: Random House, 1981).
Abramsky, Sasha. Hard Time Blues: How Politics Built a Prison Nation (?: Dunne, 2002).
Amnesty International. Racism & the Administration of Justice (NY, 2001).
Atkins, B. M. & H.R. Glick (eds.) Prisons, Protest, & Politics (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1972).
Badillo, Herman & Milton Haynes. A Bill of No Rights: Attica & the American Prison System (NY: Outerbridge & Lazard, 1972).
Baird, Christopher. The "Prisons Pay" Studies: Research or Ideology (San Francisco: Natl. Council on Crime & Delinquency, 1993).
Bandele, Asha. The Prisoner's Wife: A Memoir (NY: Scribner's, 1999).
Beccaria, Cesare. On Crimes & Punishments (NY: Cambridge, 1995).
Bennett, James V. I Chose Prison (NY: Knopf, 1970).
Bergner, Daniel. God of the Rodeo: The Search for Hope, Faith, & a Six-Second Ride in Louisianas Angola Prison (NY: Crown, 1998).a
Berkman, Alexander. Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist  (NY: NY Review, 2002).
Berrigan, Daniel. Lights on in the House of the Dead: A Prison Diary (NY: Doubleday, 1974).
Blackstone, Tessa. Prisons & Penal Reform (London: Chatto & Windus, 1990).
Bowker, Lee H. Prison Victimization (NY: Elsevier, 1980).
Bowling, Benjamin & Coretta Phillips. Racism, Crime & Justice (NY: Longman, 2002).
Braly, Malcom. False Starts: A Memoir of San Quentin & Other Prisons (NY: Penguin, 1976).
Branham, Lynn S. The Law of Sentencing, Corrections & Prisoners' Rights in a Nutshell (St. Paul MN: West Group, 2002).
Braswell, Michael; Steven Dillingham & Reid Montgomery Jr. (eds.) Prison Violence in America (2nd ed.; Cincinnati: Anderson, 1994).
Brown, Elaine. The Condemnation of Little B (Boston: Beacon, 2002). Case of Michael Lewis, who began life sentence for 1997 shooting in Atlanta at age 14.
Browning, Frank et al. Prison Life: A Study of the Explosive Conditions in America's Prisons (NY: Harper & Row, 1972).
Burton-Rose, Daniel; Dai Pens & Paul Wright (eds.) The Celling of America. An Inside Look at the U.S. Prison Industry (Monroe ME: Common Courage, 1998).
Carlie, Michael K. & Kevin I. Minor (eds.) Prisons Around the World: Studies in International Penology (Dubuque IA: William C. Brown, 1992).
Carroll, Leo. Lawful Order: A Case Study of Correctional Crisis & Reform (NY: Garland, 1998).
Chilton, Bradley Stewart. Prisons under the Gavel: The Federal Court Takeover
of Georgia Prisons (Columbus: Ohio State U., 1991).
Christianson, Scott.With Liberty for Some. 500 Years of Imprisonment in America (Boston: Northeastern U., 1998).
Cohen, A.K.; G.F. Cole & R.G. Bailey. Prison Violence (Lexington MA: Lexington, 1976).
Cook, Sandy & Susanne Davies (eds.) Harsh Punishment: International Experiences of Women's Imprisonment (Boston: Northeastern U., 1999).
Coons, William R. Attica Diary (NY: Stein & Day, 1972).
Criswold, H. Jack; Mike Misenheimer, Art Powers & Ed Tromanhauser. An Eye for an Eye (NY: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1970).
Currie, Elliot. Crime & Punishment in America (NY: Henry Holt, 1998).
Curtin, Mary Ann. Black Prisoners & their World: Alabama, 1865-1900 (Charlottesville: U. of Virginia, 2000).
Darrow, Clarence. Crime & Criminals. Address to the Prisoners in the Cook Country Jail & Other Writings on Crime & Punishment  (Chicago, 2000).
Davis, Angela Y. Are Prisons Obsolete? (NY: Seven Stories, 2003).
Debs, Eugene V. Walls & Bars: Prisons & Prison Life in the "Land of the Free"  (Chicago, 2000).
Dobash, Russell P.; R. Emerson Dobash & Sue Gutteridge. The Imprisonment of Women (Oxford: Blackwell, 1986).
Donohue, John D. Prisons for Profit: Public Justice, Private Interests (Washington: Economic Policy Institute, 1988).
Dyer, Joel. The Perpetual Prison Machine: How America Profits from Crime (Boulder: Westview, 2000).
Elsner, Alan. Gates of Injustice: The Crisis in America'a Prisons (Upper Saddle River NJ: Prentice Hall, 2004).
Faith, Karlene. The Long Prison Journey of Leslie Van Houten: Life Beyond the Cult (Boston: Northeastern U, 2001).
Fierce, Milton. Slavery Revisited: Blacks & the Southern Convict Lease System, 1865-1933 (NY: CUNY, 1994).
Fliter, John A. Prisoners' Rights: The Supreme Court & Evolving Standards of Decency (Westport CT: Greenwood, 2001).
Flynn, Elizabeth Gurley. The Alderson Story: My Life as a Political Prisoner (NY: International, 1972).
Fox, Vernon. Violence Behind Bars (NY: Vantage, 1956).
Foucault, Michel. Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison (NY: Vintage, 1979).
Garland, David. Mass Imprisonment: Social Causes & Consequences (London: Sage, 2001).
__________. The Culture of Control: Crime & Social Order in Contemporary Society (Chicago: U. of Chicago, 2003).
Gonnerman, Jennifer. Life on the Outside: The Prison Odyssey of Elaine Bartlett (NY: Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, 2004).
Grapes, Bryan J. Prisons (San Diego: Greenhaven, 2000).
Hallinan, Joseph T. Going Up the River (NY: Random House, 2003).
Hamm, Mark S. The Abandoned Ones: The Imprisonment & Uprising of the Mariel Boat People (Boston: Northeastern U., 1995).
Harivel, Tara & Paul Wright. Prison Nation: The Warehousing of America's Poor (NY: Routledge, 2003).
Hassine, Victor. Life Without Parole: Living in Prison Today (3rd ed.; Boston: Roxbury, 2003).
Hazelrigg, Lawrence (ed.) Prison Within Society (NY: Doubleday, 1968).
Hirsh, Adam Jay. The Rise of the Penitentiary: Prisons & Punishment in Early America (New Haven: Yale, 1992).
Human Rights Watch. Cold Storage: Super-Maximum Security Confinement in Indiana (NY, 1997).
__________. Global Report on Prisons (NY, 1993).
__________. US Children in Confinement in Louisiana (NY, 1995).
__________. No Escape: Male Rape in US Prisons (NY, 2001).
__________. Race & Incarceration in the US (NY, 2002).
Ignatieff, Michael. A Just Measure of Pain: The Penitentiary in the Industrial Revolution, 1750-1850 (NY: Pantheon, 1978).
Irwin, John. Prisons in Turmoil (Boston: Little, Brown, 1980).
Keve, Paul W. Prisons & the American Conscience: A History of US Federal Corrections (Carbondale: Southern Illinois U., 1991).
King, Roy D. & Mike Maguire (eds.) Prisons in Context (NY: Oxford U., 1994).
Lichtenstein, Alexander C. Twice the Work of Free Labor: The Political Economy of Convict Labor in the New South (NY: Verso, 1996).
Lockwood, Daniel. Prison Sexual Violence (NY: Elsevier, 1980).
Mancini, Matthew J. One Dies, Get Another: Confict Leasing in the American South, 1866-1928 (Columbia: U. of South Carolina, 1996).
Martin, Dannie M. with Peter Y. Sussman. Committing Journalism: The Prison Writings of Red Hog (NY: W.W. Norton, 1995).
Martin, Steve J. Texas Prisons: The Walls Come Tumbling Down (Austin: Texas Monthly, 1987).
Matthews, Roger & Peter Francis (eds.) Prisons 2000: An International Perspective on the Current State & Future of Imprisonment (NY: St. Martins, 1996).
Mauer, Marc. Race to Incarcerate (NY: New Press, 1999).
________ & Meda Chesney-Lind (eds.) Invisible Punishment: The Collateral Consequences of Mass Imprisonment (NY: New Press, 2002).
McGee, Richard A. Prisons & Politics (Lexington MA: Lexington, 1981).
Melossi, Dario & Massimo Pavarini. The Prison & the Factory: Origins of the Penitentiary System (Totowa NJ: Barnes & Noble, 1981).
Menninger, Karl A. The Crime of Punishment (NY: Viking, 1968).
Miller, Jerome G. Alternatives to Incarceration: A Dream Deferred (Vermillion: South Dakota, 1994).
__________. Search & Destroy: African-American Males in the Criminal Justice System (NY: Cambridge, 1996).
__________. Last One Over the Wall: The Massachusetts Experiment in Closing Reform Schools (Columbus: Ohio State., 1998).
Mitford, Jessica. Kind & Usual Punishment: The Prison Business (NY: Random House, 1973).
Monkkonen, Eric H. (ed.) Prisons & Jails (NY: K.G. Saur, 1992).
Montgomery, Reid H. & Gordon A. Crews. A History of Correctional Violence: An Examination of Reported Causes of Riots & Disturbances (Lanham MD: American Correctional Associates, 1998).
Morris, James McGarth. The Rose Man of Sing Sing: A True Tale of Life, Murder & Redemption in the Age of Yellow Journalism (NY: Fordham U., 2003).
Morris, Norval & David J. Rothman (eds.) The Oxford History of the Prison: The Practice of Punishment in Western Society (NY: Oxford, 1998).
Murton, Tom & Joe Hyams. Accomplices to the Crime: The Arkansas Prison Scandal (NY: Grove, 1969).
Mushlin, Michae B. Rights of Prisoners (St. Paul: Thompson/West, 2002).
New York State Special Commission on Attica. Attica: The Official Report (NY: Bantam, 1972).
Orland, Leonard. Prisons: Houses of Darkness (NY: Free Press, 1975).
Oshinsky, David. "Worse than Slavery": Parchman Farm & the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice (NY: Free Press, 1996).
Oswald, Russell G. Attica: My Story (NY: Doubleday, 1972).
Parenti, Christian. Lockdown America. Police & Prisons in the Age of Crisis (NY: Verso, 1999).
Pell, Eve (ed.) Maximum Security: Letters (NY: E.P. Dutton, 1972).
Pinar, William. The Gender of Racial Politics & Violence in America:
Lynching, Prison Rape & the Crisis of Masculinity (NY: Peter Lang,
Pisciotta, Alexander W. Benevolent Repression: Social Control & the American Reformatory-Prison Movement (NY: NYU, 1994).
Prashad, Vijay. Keeping Up with the Dow Joneses. Debt, Prison, Workfare (Boston: South End, 2003).
Robinson, Ronald W. Prison Hostage: The Siege of the Walls Prison in Huntsville, Texas (Lewiston NY: Edwin Mellen, 1997).
Rudovsky, David; Alvin J. Bronstein & Edward I. Koren. The Rights of Prisoners: The Basic ACLU Guide to a Prisoners' Rights (NY: Bantam, 1983).
Rusche, Georg & Otto Kirchheimer. Punishment & Social Structure (NY: Columbia, 1939).
Ruth, Henry & Kevin R. Reitz. The Challenge of Crime: Rethinking Our Response (Cambridge, MA: Harvard, 2003).
Rutherford, Andrew. Prisons & the Process of Justice: The Reductionist Challenge (London: Heinemann, 1984).
Salzman, Mark. True Notebooks (NY: Random House, 2003).
Scraton, Phil; Joe Sim, Paula Skidmore & Milton Keynes. Prisons under Protest (Philadelphia: Open U., 1991).
Selke, William L. Prisons in Crisis (Bloomington: Indiana U., 1993).
Shakur, Assata. Assata: An Autobiography (Westport CT: Lawrence Hill, 1987).
Shaw, George Bernard. The Crime of Imprisonment (NY: Philosophical Library, 1946).
Silberman, Matthew. A World of Violence: Corrections in America (Belmont CA: Wadsworth, 1995).
Stern, Vivien. A Sin Against the Future: Imprisonment in the World (Boston: Northeasern, 1998).
Tomasevski, Katarina (ed.) Children in Adult Prisons: An International Perspective (NY: St. Martin's, 1986).
__________. Foreigners in Prison (Helsinki: European Institute for Crime Prevention & Control, 1994).
Tonry, Michael & Joan Petersilia (eds.) Prisons (Chicago: U. Chicago, 1999).
Wacquant, Loic. Prisons of Poverty (Minneapolis: U. of Minnesota, 2001).
Walker, Samuel: Cassia Spohn & Myriam DeLone. The Color of Justice: Race, Ethnicity & Crime in America (2nd ed. Belmont CA: Wadsworth, 2000).
Webb, Gary L. The Prison Ordeal (Fayetteville GA: Coker, 1984).
Westervelt, Saundra D. & John A. Humphrey (eds.) Wrongly Convicted: Perspectives on Failed Justice (New Brunswick: Rutgers, 2001).
Wilson, James Q. Thinking About Crime (NY : Basic, 1975).
Winslow, George. Capital Crimes (NY: Monthly Review, 1999).
Wooden, Wayne S. & Jay Parker. Men Behind Bars: Sexual Exploitation in Prison (NY: Da Capo, 1983).
Zimring, Franklin E. & Gordon Hawkins. Incapacitation: Penal Confinement & the Restraint of Crime (NY: Oxford, 1995).
Struggle for justice. A report on crime and punishment in America, prepared for the American Friends Service Committee (NY: Hill & Wang,1971)
In the Library: Fiction
Braly, Malcolm. On the Yard: A Novel  (NY: NY Review, 2002). Penitentiary seen "not as an exotic location... but as an ordinary place...American to the core."
Bunker, Edward. Animal Factory (?: Minotaur, 2000).
Dostoyevsky, Fyodor. House of the Dead (NY: Viking, 1986).
Franklin, H. Bruce (ed.) Prison Writing in 20th C. America (NY: Penguin, 1998).
Himes, Chester. Yesterday Will Make You Cry [Cast the First Stone, 1952] (NY: W.W. Norton, 1998).
King, Stephen. Green Mile (NY: Pocket, 1999).
Martin, Dannie. In the Hat (NY: Pocket, 2000).
Morgan, Seth. Homeboy (NY: Vintage, 1990).
Snedeker, Michael. Down in the Valley (Portland OR: Clear Glass, 1992).
Troutt, David Dante. The Monkey Suit & Other Short Fiction on African Americans & Justice (NY: New Press, 1998).
In the Library: For Young Readers
Williams, Stanley Tookie & Barbara Cottman Becnel. Life in Prison (
In the Library: Drama
Pinero, Miguel. Short Eyes (?: Dimensions, 1975).
In the Library: Poetry
Hartnett, Stephen John. Incarceration Nation: Investigative Prison Poems of Hope & Terror (Walnut Creek: Altamira, 2003).
In the Library: Photography
Jacobson-Hardy, Michael. Behind the Razor Wire: Portrait of a Contemporary American Prison System (NY: NYU, 1999).
Schoen, Steven (ed.) Sing Sing: The View from Within: Photographs by the Prisoners (NY: Winter House, 1972).
The Prison Industrial Complex. Angela Davis (audio CD).
"Attica" , dir. Cinda Firestone, 80m. From Attica Films.
"Beyond Bars, No Extended Embraces" , dir. Julia O'Farrow, 32m. Women who have a loved one in prison.
"Brubaker" , dir. Stuart Rosenberg, 132m. In video stores. Reform-minded new warden confronts corrupt & brutal prison staff.
"Carandiru" , dir. Hector Babenco, 148m. In video stores. Brilliant evocation of life & human relationships inside an overcrowded state penitentiary in São Paulo, Brazil.
"Cool Hand Luke" , dir. Stuart Rosenberg, 126m. In video stores.
"Critical Resistance: Beyond the Prison Industrial Complex" , by Deep Dish TV Network, 58m.
"The Farm: Life Inside Angola Prison" , dir. Liz Garbus, Wilbert Rideau & Jonathan Stack, 100m. From New Video. Detailed picture of lifeways & survival techniques of long-term inmates at nation's largest prison.
"Girlhood: Growing Up on the Inside" , dir. Liz Garbus, 82m. In video stores. Transformations for two young women in Maryland youth prison system.
"The Hurricane" , dir. Norman Jewison, 145m. In video stores.
"I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang" , dir. Mervyn LeRoy, 93m. Hugely influential expose of Southern justice system of the day.
"Juvies" , dir. Leslie Neale, ?m.
"The Kiss of the Spider Woman" , dir. Hector Babenco, 120m. In video stores.
"The New Gulag: America's Prisons" [1999?], dir. Kari Mokko, 30m. From Filmakers' Library. Critique of privatization.
"Profits of Punishment" , dir. Catherine Scott, 52m. From First Run/Icarus. Anti-privatization.
"The Shawshank Redemption" , dir. Frank Darabont, 142m. In video stores.
"Short Eyes" , dir. Robert M. Young, 100m. Searing drama of abuse by fellow-prisoners.
"Supermax Wisconsin" , dir. Joshua Moise, 26m. Documentary on new high-tech era in American prisons, bringing to new levels the violation of the human rights of prisoners.
"20,000 Years in Sing Sing" , dir. Michael Curtiz, 81m.
"Turning to Stone" , dir. Eric Till, 98m.
"Virgil Bliss" , dir. Joe Maggio, 95m. From First Run Features. Ex-con has hard time building new life in Brooklyn half-way house.
"Voices from Inside" , dir. Karen Epperlein, 60m. From New Day Films.
"The Weak & the Wicked" , dir. J. Lee Thompson, 81m.
"Within These Cages" , dir. Melanie Liwanag Aguila, ?m.