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(see also Capital Punishment, Prison Reform, California Prisons, Prisoners' Rights Movement & Restorative Justice)

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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.

On the Web: Articles

Million Dollar Blocks & The Making of the Map. Jennifer Gonnerman, Village Voice (11/16/04). Cartographic representation of huge cost of prison system.

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

American Correctional Association.

Critical Resistance.

Debt to Society (Mother Jones).

International Centre for Prison Studies, University of London.

Justice Policy Institute.

Prison Activist Resource Center.

Prison Watch (Netherlands).

Tariq Khamisa Foundation.

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 devil’s 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 aren’t 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 Louisiana’s Angola Prison (NY: Crown, 1998).a

Berkman, Alexander. Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist [1912] (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 [1902] (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" [1927] (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, 2001).

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 [1967] (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).

CD & Audio

"There But for Fortune," by Phil Ochs. Greg Artzner & Terry Leonino, Magpie Give Light, Sliced Bread Records CD-SB71185.

The Prison Industrial Complex. Angela Davis (audio CD).

Film & Video

"America Behind Bars: Beyond the Prison Industrial Complex" [1999], Critical Resistance Video by Deep Dish TV Network, 56m. From Public Media Network.

"Attica" [1973], dir. Cinda Firestone, 80m. From Attica Films.

"Beyond Bars, No Extended Embraces" [1998], dir. Julia O'Farrow, 32m. Women who have a loved one in prison.

"Brubaker" [1980], dir. Stuart Rosenberg, 132m. In video stores. Reform-minded new warden confronts corrupt & brutal prison staff.

"Carandiru" [2003], 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" [1967], dir. Stuart Rosenberg, 126m. In video stores.

"Critical Resistance: Beyond the Prison Industrial Complex" [1999], by Deep Dish TV Network, 58m.

"The Farm: Life Inside Angola Prison" [1998], 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" [2003], dir. Liz Garbus, 82m. In video stores. Transformations for two young women in Maryland youth prison system.

"The Hurricane" [1999], dir. Norman Jewison, 145m. In video stores.

"I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang" [1932], dir. Mervyn LeRoy, 93m. Hugely influential expose of Southern justice system of the day.

"Juvies" [2004], dir. Leslie Neale, ?m.

"The Kiss of the Spider Woman" [1985], 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" [2001], dir. Catherine Scott, 52m. From First Run/Icarus. Anti-privatization.

"The Shawshank Redemption" [1994], dir. Frank Darabont, 142m. In video stores.

"Short Eyes" [1977], dir. Robert M. Young, 100m. Searing drama of abuse by fellow-prisoners.

"Supermax Wisconsin" [2002], 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" [1933], dir. Michael Curtiz, 81m.

"Turning to Stone" [1985], dir. Eric Till, 98m.

"Virgil Bliss" [2001], dir. Joe Maggio, 95m. From First Run Features. Ex-con has hard time building new life in Brooklyn half-way house.

"Voices from Inside" [1996], dir. Karen Epperlein, 60m. From New Day Films.

"The Weak & the Wicked" [1953], dir. J. Lee Thompson, 81m.

"Within These Cages" [2002], dir. Melanie Liwanag Aguila, ?m.

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