In The Modern Prison Paradox, Amy E. Lerman examines the shift from rehabilitation to punitivism that has taken place in the politics and practice of American corrections. She argues that this punitive turn has had profoundly negative consequences for both crime control and American community life. Professor Lerman's research shows that spending time in America's increasingly violent and castigatory prisons strengthens inmates' criminal networks and fosters attitudes that increase the likelihood of criminal activity following parole. Additionally, Professor Lerman assesses whether America's more punitive prisons similarly shape the social attitudes and behaviors of correctional staff. Her analysis reveals that working in more punitive prisons causes correctional officers to develop an 'us against them' mentality while on the job, and that the stress and wariness officers acquire at work carries over into their personal lives, straining relationships with partners, children, and friends.
Amy E. Lerman is Assistant Professor of Politics and Public Affairs at Princeton University. She has served as Vice President of Policy Studies for the political consulting firm Attention America, worked as a freelance speechwriter for members of the US Congress, and been a research consultant of the Prison University Project and faculty of the college program at San Quentin State Prison.
1. The modern prison paradox; 2. Symbolic politics, crime control, and the punitive team; 3. Public policy, punishment, and the creation of fractured community; 4. The culture and consequence of prison institutions: the case of California; 5. The social effects of incarceration; 6. The social effects of prison work; 7. From individuals to communities; 8. Criminal justice, community, the road to reform; 9. Epilogue (or: how I went to Berkeley and wound up in prison).