Paxson, Peyton,

Why American prisons fail : how to fix them without spending more money (maybe less) / Peyton Paxson, George H. Watson. - xv, 250 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm

Includes bibliographical references and index.

1. Mass incarceration : Causes of mass incarceration : The baby boom ; Giving up on rehabilitation ; The war on drugs ; Mandatory minimums ; The "get tough" movement -- Crime declined but incarceration continued to rise : Incapacitation ; End of the baby boom ; More effective law enforcement ; Abortion on demand ; Less lead in the environment ; Declining crack cocaine usage -- Crime is going down: does the public know that? -- The end of mass incarceration? -- Recidivism: the ultimate metric ; Conclusion : Where do we go from here? -- 2. George goes to jail : Not your typical jailbird -- A knock at the door -- Accused -- United States v. George H. Watson -- Preparing for prison -- George goes to jail -- Watson goes to camp -- Watson goes to work -- Keeping busy -- Watson learns prison culture -- Bureaucracy behind bars -- Real men stay in prison -- George goes home -- 3. What were they thinking?: Why people commit crimes and how America punishes them : Why do people commit crimes? : Criminology 101 : Preclassical theory ; Classical theory ; Classical theory and rational choice ; Positivist theory ; Sociological theories ; Social conflict theories ; Strain theory ; Social learning theory ; Integrative theories ; Multifactor theory ; Life course theory -- Why do we incarcerate? : Incapacitation ; Deterrence ; Retribution ; Rehabilitation, reformation and reentry with reintegration ; Restorative justice -- A history of U.S. prisons : The Pennsylvania system ; The Auburn system ; Southern prisons in the second half of the nineteenth century ; The National Prison Association and the evolution of prison reform ; The reformatory ; The twentieth century's big house ; The Federal Bureau of Prisons ; "Nothing works" and mass incarceration ; Prisons today -- 4. Is there a better way in Norway? The U.K.? : United States as outlier -- Americans like to punish : Punitivity is partly politics ; Punitivity is partly sociological -- Comparing apples and oranges: definitional problems : Definitional problem #1: Defining crime and measuring is occurrence ; Definitional problem #2: Incarceration rates -- Looking elsewhere : Norway: 21 years for mass murder ; The United Kingdom: cautioning ; Spain: family solutions ; Denmark: least possible intervention -- Recidivism, the ultimate prison metric -- Incarceration as deterrent to crime : The Dutch way ; Norway, again ; Germany: location, location, location ; England and Wales: independent monitoring boards ; France: corrections judges ; Scotland: short-term sentences versus community corrections -- The U.S. vs. other Western democracies: lock 'em up versus let 'em out -- Tocqueville revisited -- 5. Politics and prisons : The role of fear -- Overlapping laws -- Overcriminalization : Drug-free schools ; Habitual offender statutes -- Lack of intent -- Void for vagueness -- Sentencing concerns : Mandatory minimums -- Parole -- The sixth amendment's right to trial by jury: what happened? -- Grand juries -- 6. As prosecutors say, "Follow the money": prisons and profits : Private prisons and incarcerating for profit : Failure is the best option: recidivism drives private prison profits ; Recidivism isn't enough: they need more criminals preying on the weak ; Cherry picking: optimal conditions mean maximum profits -- Prisons are also revenue streams for government entities -- Prisons as employers : Plenty of prisoners means job security -- Prisons and jails as profit centers: vendors -- Supporting criminalization as a business strategy : ALEC -- 7. Let's fix the problem : Overcriminalization : We call our legislators "lawmakers" for a reason: but do we need all these laws? ; The Colorado model -- Decriminalization : Drug laws -- Mandatory minimums : Life sentences -- Diversion from prison : Community corrections ; Intensive supervised probation ; Drug courts ; Mental health courts ; Veterans treatment courts -- Prisons : Solitary confinement ; Programming : Choice architecture; Substance abuse treatment; Cognitive behavioral therapy; Education; Literacy; Adult basic education; Secondary education; Vocational training and job readiness training; Entrepreneurial training ; College -- Prisons and profits: a horrible idea -- Juveniles: almost all of them will get out -- Life after prison : Reintegration ; Earning a living.

In Why American Prisons Fail: How to Fix Them without Spending More Money (Maybe Less), two former law school classmates, Peyton Paxson, a criminal justice professor, and George H. Watson, a past federal inmate and former attorney, address the issues currently facing our corrections system. They begin by describing how events in the late twentieth century cause the U.S. to have the highest incarceration rate in the world today. They go on to discuss how Watson found himself in prison and his observations of how prisons fail to do their job - to rehabilitate prisoners and prepare them for reintegration back into society. The book provides brief surveys of the history of criminological theory and American prisons and compares U.S. penology with that of other Western democracies. The authors also examine the political and economic factors that drive today's mass incarceration phenomenon. They conclude with a discussion of existing best practices and proposed reforms to move away from expensive and unsuccessful mass incarceration toward a more effective system. Why American Prisons Fail is particularly timely, as there are rising bipartisan calls in Washington and among the states to adopt a different response to crime. -- from back cover.


Prisons--United States.
Corrections--United States.
Criminal justice, Administration of--United States.

HV9471 / .P39 2016