The United States is the world leader in incarceration; 707 people out of every 100,000 are imprisoned. If the US prison system were a country, it would be the 143rd most populated nation in the world. Aside from looking at the numbers, if we could look at prison from a new view as its own country rather than an institution made up of walls and wiers, policies and procedures, and legal statues, 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 fundamental fabric of understanding to demonstrate that prison is a culture, that transcends the fences and buildings
of correctional facilities. This culture, they argue,begins in the prisons of disadvantage, abusive and neglected childhoods, continues in correctional facilities, and proceeds to infiltrate life post-incarceration, as ex-felons leave correctional facilities (and often return to impoverished
neighborhoods)without money or legal identification of American citizenship. Caught in the isolation of poverty, these legal aliens turn to illegal means of providing for themselves, and are often reimprisoned. 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 pragmatic, transformative, and economical suggestions to reform the prison system and help prisoners return to
a healthier life after incarceration.
Mary Looman, PhD, is a psychologist at the Oklaahoma Dpeartment of Corrections Reception Centre and an adjunct professor at the University of Oklahoma where she regularly teaches courses for the Masters in Criminal Justice Program. SHe has worked in the field of corrections for over twenty-five years, in both juvenile and adult settings, as well as with at-risk families in mental health settings. John Carl, PhD, is an assistant professor at the University of Oklahoma where he regularly teaches a variesty of courses including criminology and criminal justice. His social work experience includes prison and a variety of medical settings. He is the author of Think Sociology, Think Social Problems and A short Introduction to the US Census Director of the School of Social Work, East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma.
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