Penology
Angels with Dirty Faces: Three Stories of Crime, Prison, and Redemption
Angels with Dirty Faces
Three Stories of Crime, Prison, and Redemption
Paperback      ISBN: 1849351740

"There was a time I believed prisons existed to rehabilitate people, to make our communities safer. . . . When I saw for the first time (but not the last) a mother sobbing and clutching her son when visiting hours were up, only to be physically pried off and escorted out by guards, I knew nothing about that made me safer. This is the heart of this country's prison system. And the prison system has become the heart of America."--Walidah Imarisha, from the Introduction.

Angels with Dirty Faces is no romanticized tale of crime and punishment. The three lives in this creative nonfiction account are united by the presence of actual harm--sometimes horrific violence. Imarisha, dealing with the complexities of her own experience with sexual assault and accountability, brings us behind prison walls to visit her adopted brother Kakamia and his fellow inmate Jimmy "Mac" McElroy, a member of the brutal Irish gang the Westies. Together they explore the questions: People can do unimaginable damage to one another--and then what? What do we as a society do? What might redemption look like?

Imarisha doesn't flinch as she guides us through the difficulties and contradictions, eschewing theory for a much messier reality. The result is a nuanced and deeply personal analysis that allows readers to connect emotionally with the lives of people caught up within, and often destroyed by, our criminal justice system.


"A highly personalized and intimate portrait by a courageous writer who goes beyond clich s and platitudes. This book is a bracing, clear-eyed exploration of one of the most important issues of our time: the growing incarceration rate in the US, and the consequences of this for citizens both inside and outside prison walls." --T.J. English, New York Times best-selling author of Where the Bodies Were Buried and The Westies

"Walidah Imarisha gives us an unvarnished take on prison abolition. Beyond slogans or strategy, we are left with people, in all our imperfections and possibilities. This is a bold, beautiful, and absolutely necessary book, told with urgency and passion. --Dan Berger, author of Captive Nation

"Walidah Imarisha has written a brave book. It demonstrates both the universality and distinctiveness of three lives enmeshed through the US prison system. Imarisha pushes us to give up easy distinctions between innocence and guilt, good and evil, and to experience punishment and imprisonment as the messy, complex systems they are. And she reminds us that while there are no winners in this game, it is one replete with compassion, care, and resistance enough to permeate walls and cages." --Rachel Herzing, co-founder of Critical Resistance.

"Angels with Dirty Faces is a superbly written shocking, sensuous, sometimes sadistic and even scandalous binding of biographies struggling with the question: What does redemption actually mean? It is impossible for one to engage this work and not emerge on the other side profoundly affected." Sundiata Acoli, Political Prisoner

"Walidah Imarisha relates the experiences of crime, punishment, and victimization, not as abstractions, but as lived human tragedies. She shows us how they diminish and distort--but never define--the lives of those who suffer them. Writing with sorrow, and anger, and courageous hope, she forces us to reconsider what we mean by "justice," and by what endeavors its cause might be advanced, if never finally achieved. --Kristian Williams, author Our Enemies in Blue

"I read Angels With Dirty Faces in one sitting, mesmerized by what Walidah Imarisha has accomplished. It is a daring dive into the real deal about why prisons don't work...written in such lyrical, fierce poetry it takes your breath away." --Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, editor of The Revolution Starts at Home"

The Apology Ritual: A Philosophical Theory of Punishment
The Apology Ritual
A Philosophical Theory of Punishment
Hardcover      ISBN: 0521880726

Christopher Bennett presents a theory of punishment grounded in the practice of apology, and in particular in reactions such as feeling sorry and making amends. He argues that offenders have a 'right to be punished' - that it is part of taking an offender seriously as a member of a normatively demanding relationship (such as friendship or collegiality or citizenship) that she is subject to retributive attitudes when she violates the demands of that relationship. However, while he claims that punishment and the retributive attitudes are the necessary expression of moral condemnation, his account of these reactions has more in common with restorative justice than traditional retributivism. He argues that the most appropriate way to react to crime is to require the offender to make proportionate amends. His book is a rich and intriguing contribution to the debate over punishment and restorative justice.

The Apology Ritual: A Philosophical Theory of Punishment
The Apology Ritual
A Philosophical Theory of Punishment
Paperback      ISBN: 0521174007

Christopher Bennett presents a theory of punishment grounded in the practice of apology, and in particular in reactions such as feeling sorry and making amends. He argues that offenders have a 'right to be punished' - that it is part of taking an offender seriously as a member of a normatively demanding relationship (such as friendship or collegiality or citizenship) that she is subject to retributive attitudes when she violates the demands of that relationship. However, while he claims that punishment and the retributive attitudes are the necessary expression of moral condemnation, his account of these reactions has more in common with restorative justice than traditional retributivism. He argues that the most appropriate way to react to crime is to require the offender to make proportionate amends. His book is a rich and intriguing contribution to the debate over punishment and restorative justice.

Bad Guys and Good Guys: Moral Polarization and Crime
Bad Guys and Good Guys
Moral Polarization and Crime
Hardcover      ISBN: 031328489x

Are victims good guys and criminals bad guys? Sometimes--but, often, the public's stereotypes and perceptions of offenders, victims, and groups are quite complex. In spite of widespread concern about crime, there is great resistance on the part of the public and its elected representatives to certain measures that would seem to be sensible ways of ameliorating the problem. How can this resistance be explained? At the same time, measures like community service, shock probation, determinate sentencing, and reality therapy are embraced by the public. Claster shows how these contradictions are not mutually exclusive and explains the importance of moral polarization in the way the public perceives crime and victims.

Claster begins by examining the various ways crime is perceived moralistically. He then examines stereotypes about the participants in a crime, which are illustrated by references to popular fiction as well as scholarly analysis, to the media, to public opinion surveys, and to statements of public officials. After examining the criminal as bad guy and good guy he reviews the positive as well as the negative stereotypes of victims' groups (gangs, families, and immigrant and occupational subcultures). Claster then examines psychological and sociological explanations of the process underlying these stereotypes; he provides cases to illustrate how pervasive the process, of what he calls moral polarization, is; and he concludes by exploring the practical implication of moral polarization. This work will be of considerable interest to scholars in criminology as well as those involved with criminal justice policy.

Behind Bars: Latino/as and Prison in the United States
Behind Bars
Latino/as and Prison in the United States
Hardcover      ISBN: 023061924x

This book addresses the complex issue of incarceration of Latino/as and offers a comprehensive overview of such topics as deportations in historical context, a case study of latino/a resistance to prisons in the 70s, the issues of youth and and girls prisons, and the post incarceration experience.

Behind Bars: Latino/as and Prison in the United States
Behind Bars
Latino/as and Prison in the United States
1st Edition    Paperback      ISBN: 0230619495

This book addresses the complex issue of incarceration of Latino/as and offers a comprehensive overview of such topics as deportations in historical context, a case study of latino/a resistance to prisons in the 70s, the issues of youth and and girls prisons, and the post incarceration experience.

Behind San Quentin's Walls: The History of California's Legendary Prison and Its Inmates, 1851-1900
Behind San Quentin's Walls
The History of California's Legendary Prison and Its Inmates, 1851-1900
Paperback      ISBN: 1610352211

It’s one of the most famous prisons in American history, featured in countless movies and novels. Its inmates have included such diverse characters as Charles Manson, Sirhan Sirhan, Eldridge Cleaver, Merle Haggard, and Neal Cassidy. It’s the one of the oldest continually operating institutions of California state government. San Quentin State Prison is as iconic a symbol of California as the Golden Gate Bridge or the Hollywood sign, yet few people today know the prison’s origins or colorful early history.Noted Old West historian William B. Secrest uncovers the forgotten beginnings of San Quentin in “Behind San Quentin’s Walls: The History of the Legendary Prison and Its Inmates, 1851-1900.

Benevolent Repression: Social Control and the American Reformatory-Prison Movement
Benevolent Repression
Social Control and the American Reformatory-Prison Movement
Hardcover      ISBN: 0814766234

The opening, in 1876, of the Elmira Reformatory marked the birth of the American adult reformatory movement and the introduction of a new approach to crime and the treatment of criminals. Hailed as a reform panacea and the humane solution to America's ongoing crisis of crime and social disorder, Elmira sparked an ideological revolution. Repression and punishment were supposedly out. Academic and vocational education, military drill, indeterminate sentencing and parole--"benevolent reform"--were now considered instrumental to instilling in prisoners a respect for God, law, and capitalism.
Not so, says Al Pisciotta, in this highly original, startling, and revealing work. Drawing upon previously unexamined sources from over a half-dozen states and a decade of research, Pisciotta explodes the myth that Elmira and other institutions of "the new penology" represented a significant advance in the treatment of criminals and youthful offenders.
The much-touted programs failed to achieve their goals; instead, prisoners, under Superintendent Zebulon Brockway, considered the Father of American Corrections, were whipped with rubber hoses and two-foot leather straps, restricted to bread and water in dark dungeons during months of solitary confinement, and brutally subjected to a wide range of other draconian psychological and physical abuses intended to pound them into submission. Escapes, riots, violence, drugs, suicide, arson, and rape were the order of the day in these prisons, hardly conducive to the transformation of "dangerous criminal classes into Christian gentleman," as was claimed. Reflecting the racism and sexism in the social order in general, the new penology also legitimized the repression of the lower classes.
Highlighting the disparity between promise and practice in America's prisons, Pisciotta draws on seven inmate case histories to illustrate convincingly that the "March of Progress" was nothing more than a reversion to the ways of old. In short, the adult reformatory movement promised benevolent reform but delivered benevolent repression--a pattern that continues to this day.
A vital contribution to the history of crime, corrections, and criminal justice, this book will also have a major impact on our thinking about contemporary corrections and issues surrounding crime, punishment, and social control.

Benevolent Repression: Social Control and the American Reformatory-Prison Movement
Benevolent Repression
Social Control and the American Reformatory-Prison Movement
Paperback      ISBN: 0814766382

The opening, in 1876, of the Elmira Reformatory marked the birth of the American adult reformatory movement and the introduction of a new approach to crime and the treatment of criminals. Hailed as a reform panacea and the humane solution to America's ongoing crisis of crime and social disorder, Elmira sparked an ideological revolution. Repression and punishment were supposedly out. Academic and vocational education, military drill, indeterminate sentencing and parole--"benevolent reform"--were now considered instrumental to instilling in prisoners a respect for God, law, and capitalism.
Not so, says Al Pisciotta, in this highly original, startling, and revealing work. Drawing upon previously unexamined sources from over a half-dozen states and a decade of research, Pisciotta explodes the myth that Elmira and other institutions of "the new penology" represented a significant advance in the treatment of criminals and youthful offenders.
The much-touted programs failed to achieve their goals; instead, prisoners, under Superintendent Zebulon Brockway, considered the Father of American Corrections, were whipped with rubber hoses and two-foot leather straps, restricted to bread and water in dark dungeons during months of solitary confinement, and brutally subjected to a wide range of other draconian psychological and physical abuses intended to pound them into submission. Escapes, riots, violence, drugs, suicide, arson, and rape were the order of the day in these prisons, hardly conducive to the transformation of "dangerous criminal classes into Christian gentleman," as was claimed. Reflecting the racism and sexism in the social order in general, the new penology also legitimized the repression of the lower classes.
Highlighting the disparity between promise and practice in America's prisons, Pisciotta draws on seven inmate case histories to illustrate convincingly that the "March of Progress" was nothing more than a reversion to the ways of old. In short, the adult reformatory movement promised benevolent reform but delivered benevolent repression--a pattern that continues to this day.
A vital contribution to the history of crime, corrections, and criminal justice, this book will also have a major impact on our thinking about contemporary corrections and issues surrounding crime, punishment, and social control.

Between Torture and Resistance
Between Torture and Resistance
1st Edition    Paperback      ISBN: 1604866853

The life story of Puerto Rican freedom fighter and leader Oscar L pez Rivera, outlined in this book, is one of courage, valor, and sacrifice. In 1981, Oscar was convicted of seditious conspiracy and other crimes for which he is still imprisoned, making him the longest-held political prisoner in the world. This is the story of his fight for the political independence of Puerto Rico based on letters between him and the renowned lawyer, sociologist, educator, and activist Luis Nieves Falc n. Also included is Oscar's art, including photography and paintings created in his many years behind bars. Readers will explore his early life as a Latino child growing up in the small towns of Puerto Rico, following him as an adolescent as he and his family move to the big cities of the United States. After serving in Vietnam and earning a Bronze Star, Oscar returned home and worked to improve the quality of life for his people by becoming a community activist, which led to his underground life as a Puerto Rican Nationalist and his subsequent arrest. With a vivid assessment of the ongoing colonial relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico, the book helps to illustrate the sad tale of largely unreported human rights abuses for political prisoners in the United States, but it is also a story of hope and his ongoing struggle for freedom for his people and himself--a hope that there is beauty and strength in resistance.