Journals Higher Education



Published: 01 July 2014

240 Pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

ISBN: 9780199328499

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Bookseller Code (06)

The Social Order of the Underworld

How Prison Gangs Govern the American Penal System

David Skarbek

  • The first major work to discuss the evolution of governance institutions in the prison setting over time
  • Offers the controversial theory that gangs form to promote order among inmates. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, they are not formed primarily to enhance their ability to engage in violence or to promote racist beliefs. Gangs are quasi-governments that make inmates better off.
  • Features remarkable discussions of how inmates live and conspire behind bars in both historical and contemporary settings
  • Uses insights from economics and political science to explain new archival evidence and to synthesize existing work by criminologists, penologists, and sociologists

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