Beyond Prisons: A New Interfaith Paradigm for Our Failed Prison System

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This strong indictment of the current prison system, undertaken by two respected experts on behalf of the American Friends Service Committee, traces the history and features of our penal system, offers strong ethical and moral assessments of it, and lays out a whole new paradigm of criminal justice based on restorative justice and reconciliation. The book puts forward a 12-point plan for immediate changes. Beyond Prisons opens a long-needed national dialogue on our responsibilities as citizens and as a nation to provide remediation rather than mere retributive incarceration, answerable to the common good and the justice of God.
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Publisher
Fortress Press
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Pages
204
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ISBN
9781451412833
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Religion / Ecumenism
Social Science / Criminology
Social Science / Penology
Social Science / Sociology of Religion
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This content is DRM protected.
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The United States has more people locked away in prison per capita than any other country. Prison building is a multi-billion-dollar industry, and in some states more money is spent on prisons and prisoners than on education. Nearly one quarter of all prison inmates worldwide are housed in U.S. jails or penitentiaries, even though the United States has only five percent of the world's population. Yet, in spite of the vast amount of resources spent on locking people up and the number of people in prison, the United States leads the developed world in the number of homicides and violent assaults.

For the last eighteen years, Jens Soering has experienced the inside of many different prison environments, from a youth remand center in London to America's notorious Supermax prisons, to medium-security institutions. What he has seen and experienced has convinced him that not only do prisons not rehabilitate prisoners who may be useful for society once their sentence has ended, but prisons turn petty criminals into hardened convicts--all at enormous expense to society. Meanwhile, other nations control their crime rates at a fraction of the cost of the United States correctional system.

Soering does not argue that prisons should not exist or dispute that there are people who need to be locked away. His book is not an indictment of the legal system that lands many people in prison. Instead, An Expensive Way to Make Bad People Worse offers a mainly monetary analysis of why it is absurd fiscal policy to lock people up so often and for so long.

With more than one million people behind bars, the United States imprisons a larger share of its population than any other industrialized nation. This has precipitated a serious overcrowding problem with federal and state prisons currently operating well beyond capacity. Conventional efforts appear unable to cope with the increasing shortage of beds or with inadequate rehabilitation services. A bold solution is required; increasingly it is being seen to reside in the private sector. This timely volume explores the issues of private versus public financing, construction, and management of medium-and high-security prisons.

Private prisons are not a new concept in the United States. They have existed in several forms since the eighteenth century. The opening chapters evaluate historical cases of prisons for profit, examining the concerns of labor, abuses of inmates, and the source and resolution of disputes between private and public sectors. These chapters argue that the experience gained through privatization does not justify current opposition from civil libertarians or labor unions.

Chapters dealing with the modern contracting out of complete management and limited services document the growing trend toward privatization and instances of public/private partnership in prison industries.

The assembled evidence indicates clearly that privately run prisons have shown significant cost savings and good quality of provision for prisoners while still being profitable. However, the authors caution that these promising results must be reinforced by public safeguards in the contracting stage and monitoring to assure good service and security. With the American prison system in disarray, the public interest demands that government look beyond the public or private identity of those who wish to provide correctional services and focus instead on who can provide the best services at a given cost. It is essential to state that correctional services should attain several objectives and not merely cost minimization. The analysis and recommendations presented here will aid in the task. "Privatizing Correctional Institutions "will be of interest to law-enforcement officials, public policy analysts, penologists, and criminologists.

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • John Grisham’s first work of nonfiction: a true crime story that will terrify anyone who believes in the presumption of innocence.
 
NOW A NETFLIX ORIGINAL DOCUMENTARY SERIES
 
“Both an American tragedy and [Grisham’s] strongest legal thriller yet, all the more gripping because it happens to be true.”—Entertainment Weekly
 
In the town of Ada, Oklahoma, Ron Williamson was going to be the next Mickey Mantle. But on his way to the Big Leagues, Ron stumbled, his dreams broken by drinking, drugs, and women. Then, on a winter night in 1982, not far from Ron’s home, a young cocktail waitress named Debra Sue Carter was savagely murdered. The investigation led nowhere. Until, on the flimsiest evidence, it led to Ron Williamson. The washed-up small-town hero was charged, tried, and sentenced to death—in a trial littered with lying witnesses and tainted evidence that would shatter a man’s already broken life, and let a true killer go free.
 
Impeccably researched, grippingly told, filled with eleventh-hour drama, The Innocent Man reads like a page-turning legal thriller. It is a book no American can afford to miss.
 
Praise for The Innocent Man
 
“Grisham has crafted a legal thriller every bit as suspenseful and fast-paced as his bestselling fiction.”—The Boston Globe
 
“A gritty, harrowing true-crime story.”—Time
 
“A triumph.”—The Seattle Times

BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from John Grisham’s The Litigators.
Oprah's Book Club Summer 2018 Selection

The Instant New York Times Bestseller

A powerful, revealing story of hope, love, justice, and the power of reading by a man who spent thirty years on death row for a crime he didn't commit.

“An amazing and heartwarming story, it restores our faith in the inherent goodness of humanity.”
—Archbishop Desmond Tutu

In 1985, Anthony Ray Hinton was arrested and charged with two counts of capital murder in Alabama. Stunned, confused, and only twenty–nine years old, Hinton knew that it was a case of mistaken identity and believed that the truth would prove his innocence and ultimately set him free.

But with no money and a different system of justice for a poor black man in the South, Hinton was sentenced to death by electrocution. He spent his first three years on Death Row at Holman State Prison in agonizing silence—full of despair and anger toward all those who had sent an innocent man to his death. But as Hinton realized and accepted his fate, he resolved not only to survive, but find a way to live on Death Row. For the next twenty–seven years he was a beacon—transforming not only his own spirit, but those of his fellow inmates, fifty–four of whom were executed mere feet from his cell. With the help of civil rights attorney and bestselling author of Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson, Hinton won his release in 2015.

With a foreword by Stevenson, The Sun Does Shine is an extraordinary testament to the power of hope sustained through the darkest times. Destined to be a classic memoir of wrongful imprisonment and freedom won, Hinton’s memoir tells his dramatic thirty–year journey and shows how you can take away a man’s freedom, but you can’t take away his imagination, humor, or joy.

NOW A NETFLIX ORIGINAL SERIES • #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
 
With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money ten years before. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187–424—one of the millions of people who disappear “down the rabbit hole” of the American penal system. From her first strip search to her final release, Kerman learns to navigate this strange world with its strictly enforced codes of behavior and arbitrary rules. She meets women from all walks of life, who surprise her with small tokens of generosity, hard words of wisdom, and simple acts of acceptance. Heartbreaking, hilarious, and at times enraging, Kerman’s story offers a rare look into the lives of women in prison—why it is we lock so many away and what happens to them when they’re there.
 
Praise for Orange Is the New Black
 
“Fascinating . . . The true subject of this unforgettable book is female bonding and the ties that even bars can’t unbind.”—People (four stars)
 
“I loved this book. It’s a story rich with humor, pathos, and redemption. What I did not expect from this memoir was the affection, compassion, and even reverence that Piper Kerman demonstrates for all the women she encountered while she was locked away in jail. I will never forget it.”—Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love
 
“This book is impossible to put down because [Kerman] could be you. Or your best friend. Or your daughter.”—Los Angeles Times
 
“Moving . . . transcends the memoir genre’s usual self-centeredness to explore how human beings can always surprise you.”—USA Today
 
“It’s a compelling awakening, and a harrowing one—both for the reader and for Kerman.”—Newsweek.com
 
Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.
A stunning account of life behind bars at the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas, where the nation’s hardest criminals do hard time.
 
“A page-turner, as compelling and evocative as the finest novel. The best book on prison I’ve ever read.”—Jonathan Kellerman
 
The most dreaded facility in the prison system because of its fierce population, Leavenworth is governed by ruthless clans competing for dominance. Among the “star” players in these pages: Carl Cletus Bowles, the sexual predator with a talent for murder; Dallas Scott, a gang member who has spent almost thirty of his forty-two years behind bars; indomitable Warden Robert Matthews, who put his shoulder against his prison’s grim reality; Thomas Silverstein, a sociopath confined in “no human contact” status since 1983; “tough cop” guard Eddie Geouge, the only officer in the penitentiary with the authority to sentence an inmate to “the Hole”; and William Post, a bank robber with a criminal record going back to when he was eight years old—and known as the “Catman” for his devoted care of the cats who live inside the prison walls.
 
Pete Earley, celebrated reporter and author of Family of Spies, all but lived for nearly two years inside the primordial world of Leavenworth, where he conducted hundreds of interviews. Out of this unique, extraordinary access comes the riveting story of what life is actually like in the oldest maximum-security prison in the country.
 
Praise for The Hot House
 
“Reporting at its very finest.”—Los Angeles Times
 
“The book is a large act of courage, its subject an important one, and . . . Earley does it justice.”—The Washington Post Book World
 
“[A] riveting, fiercely unsentimental book . . . To [Earley’s] credit, he does not romanticize the keepers or the criminals. His cool and concise prose style serves him well. . . . This is a gutsy book.”—Chicago Tribune
 
“Harrowing . . . an exceptional work of journalism.”—Detroit Free Press
 
“If you’re going to read any book about prison, The Hot House is the one. . . . It is the most realistic, unbuffed account of prison anywhere in print.”—Kansas City Star
 
“A superb piece of reporting.”—Tom Clancy
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