Synopses & Reviews
The United States is the world leader in incarcerating citizens. 707 people out of every 100,000 are imprisoned. If those currently incarcerated in the US prison system were a country, it would be the 102nd most populated nation in the world. Aside from looking at the numbers, if we could look at prison from a new viewpoint, as its own country rather than an institution made up of walls and wires, policies and procedures, and legal statutes, what might we be able to learn?
In A Country Called Prison, Mary Looman and John Carl attempt to answer this question by proposing a paradigm shift in the way that American society views mass incarceration. Weaving together sociological and psychological principles, theories of political reform, and real-life stories from experiences working in prison and with at-risk families, Looman and Carl form a foundation of understanding to demonstrate that prison is a culture, not purely an institution made up of fences, building, and policies. Prison continues well after incarceration, as ex-felons leave correctional facilities without legal identification of American citizenship, without money, and often return to impoverished neighborhoods. Imprisoned in the isolation of poverty, these legal aliens turn to illegal ways of providing for themselves and often return to prison. This situation is unsustainable and America is clearly facing an incarceration epidemic that requires a new perspective to eradicate it. A Country Called Prison offers concrete, doable, and economical suggestions to reform not only the prison system, but also to help prisoners return to a healthier life after incarceration.
About the Author
Mary D. Looman
is a Psychologist for the Oklahoma Department of Corrections and an adjunct professor at the University of Oklahoma with over 30 years of experience working in criminal justice and social service organizations.
John D. Carl is an Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, at the University of Oklahoma with 20 years of experience in social work and teaching college courses in criminology.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Introduction to a Country Called Prison
Chapter 2: What Makes Prisons A Country?
Chapter 3: Who Are the People of a Country Called Prison
Chapter 4: Life in a Country Called Prison
Chapter 5: Visiting America From a Country Called Prison
Chapter 6: Emigrating From a Country Called Prison
Chapter 7: Assimilating a Country Called Prison
Appendix: Summary of Proposals