cover of book

Crime and Justice, Volume 51: Prisons and Prisoners
edited by Michael Tonry and Sandra Bucerius
University of Chicago Press Journals, 2022
eISBN: 978-0-226-82506-9 | Paper: 978-0-226-82507-6 | Cloth: 978-0-226-82505-2

Volume 51 is a thematic volume on Prisons and Prisoners.

Since 1979, the Crime and Justice series has presented a review of the latest international research, providing expertise to enhance the work of sociologists, psychologists, criminal lawyers, justice scholars, and political scientists. The series explores a full range of issues concerning crime, its causes, and its cures. In both the review and the occasional thematic volumes, Crime and Justice offers an interdisciplinary approach to address core issues in criminology.

Volume 51 of Crime and Justice is the first to reprise a predecessor, Prisons (Volume 26, 1999), edited by series editor Michael Tonry and the late Joan Petersilia. In Prisons and Prisoners, editors Michael Tonry and Sandra Bucerius revisit the subject for several reasons.
In 1999, most scholarly research concerned developments in Britain and the United States and was published in English. Much of that was sociological, focused on inmate subcultures, or psychological, focused on how prisoners coped with and adapted to prison life. Some, principally by economists and statisticians, sought to measure the crime-preventive effects of imprisonment generally and the deterrent effects of punishments of greater and lesser severity. In 2022, serious scholarly research on prisoners, prisons, and the effects of imprisonment has been published and is underway in many countries. That greater cosmopolitanism is reflected in the pages of this volume. Several essays concern developments in places other than Britain and the United States. Several are primarily comparative and cover developments in many countries. Those primarily concerned with American research draw on work done elsewhere.
The subjects of prison research have also changed. Work on inmate subcultures and coping and adaptation has largely fallen by the wayside. Little is being done on imprisonment’s crime-preventive effects, largely because they are at best modest and often perverse. An essay in Volume 50 of Crime and Justice, examining the 116 studies then published on the effects of imprisonment on subsequent offending, concluded that serving a prison term makes ex-prisoners on average more, not less, likely to reoffend.
In 1999, little research had been done on the effects of imprisonment on prisoners’ families, children, or communities, or even—except for recidivism— on ex-prisoners’ later lives: family life, employment, housing, physical and mental health, or achievement of a conventional, law-abiding life. The first comprehensive survey of what was then known was published in the earlier Crime and Justice: Prisons volume. An enormous literature has since emerged, as essays in this volume demonstrate. Comparatively little work had been done by 1999 on the distinctive prison experiences of women and members of non-White minority groups. That too has changed, as several of the essays make clear.
What is not clear is the future of imprisonment. Through more contemporary and global lenses, the essays featured in this volume not only reframe where we are in 2022 but offer informed insights into where we might be heading.


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