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Other titles in the Critical Issues in Crime and Society series:
Compassionate Confinement (Critical Issues in Crime and Society)by Laura S. Abrams
Synopses & Reviews
Today there are approximately fifty thousand prisoners in American prisons serving life without parole, having been found guilty of crimes ranging from murder and rape to burglary, carjacking, and drug offences. In The Forgotten Men, criminologist Margaret E. Leigey provides an insightful account of a group of aging inmates imprisoned for at least twenty years, with virtually no chance of release.
These men make up one of the most marginalized segments of the contemporary U.S. prison population. Considered too dangerous for rehabilitation, ignored by prison administrators, and overlooked by courts disinclined to review such sentences, these prisoners grow increasingly cut off from family and the outside world. Drawing on in-depth interviews with twenty-five such prisoners, Leigey gives voice to these extremely marginalized inmates and offers a look at how they struggle to cope. She reveals, for instance, that the men believe that permanent incarceration is as inhumane as capital punishment, calling life without parole andldquo;the hard death penalty.andrdquo; Indeed, after serving two decades in prison, some wished that they had received the death penalty instead. Leigey also recounts the ways in which the prisoners attempt to construct meaningful lives inside the bleak environment where they will almost certainly live out their lives.and#160;
Every state in the union (except Alaska) has the life-without-parole sentencing option, despite its controversial nature and its staggering cost to the taxpayer. The Forgotten Men provides a much-needed analysis of the policies behind life-without-parole sentencing, arguing that such sentences are overused and lead to serious financial and ethical dilemmas.
This ethnographic text brings to light the challenges and complexities inherent in the U.S. system of juvenile corrections. Building on over a year of field work at a boys’ residential facility, the authors provide a context for contemporary institutions and highlight some of the system’s most troubling tensions. The book provides narratives, observations, case examples, and recommendations for rehabilitating the system. A detailed appendix on conducting field research is useful for individuals in the social sciences and helping professions.
In The Forgotten Men, criminologist Margaret E. Leigey provides an insightful account of a group of inmates sentenced to life without parole. Imprisoned for at least twenty years, with virtually no chance of release, these men make up one of the most marginalized segments of the U.S. prison population. Drawing on in-depth interviews with twenty-five such prisoners, Leigey describes how they struggle to construct meaningful lives and provides a much-needed analysis of the policies behind life-without-parole sentencing.and#160;
To date, knowledge of the everyday world of the juvenile correction institution has been extremely sparse. Compassionate Confinement brings to light the challenges and complexities inherent in the U.S. system of juvenile corrections. Building on over a year of field work at a boys’ residential facility, Laura S. Abrams and Ben Anderson-Nathe provide a context for contemporary institutions and highlight some of the system’s most troubling tensions.
This ethnographic text utilizes narratives, observations, and case examples to illustrate the strain between treatment and correctional paradigms and the mixed messages regarding gender identity and masculinity that the youths are expected to navigate. Within this context, the authors use the boys’ stories to show various and unexpected pathways toward behavior change. While some residents clearly seized opportunities for self-transformation, others manipulated their way toward release, and faced substantial challenges when they returned home.
Compassionate Confinement concludes with recommendations for rehabilitating this notoriously troubled system in light of the experiences of its most vulnerable stakeholders.
About the Author
LAURA S. ABRAMS is an associate professor of social welfare at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and has written over forty scholarly articles and book chapters concerning youth identity, juvenile corrections, and reentry.
BEN ANDERSON-NATHE is an associate professor and program director of Child and Family Studies at Portland State University. He is the author of Youth Workers, Stuckness, and the Myth of Supercompetence and coeditor of Child & Youth Services.
Table of Contents
1. History and Current Tensions in Juvenile Corrections
2. The Setting
3. Mixed Messages: “Therapy Speak” in a Correctional Milieu
4. “Take It Like a Man”: Masculinities, Treatment, and Crime
5. “Jumping through Hoops”: Identity, Self-Preservation, and Change
6. On the Outs
7. Rehabilitating Rehabilitation: What We Learned from Unit C
What Our Readers Are Saying
History and Social Science » Crime » Criminology