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Correctional Contexts

Contemporary and Classical Readings

Fifth Edition

Edward Latessa and Alexander Holsinger

Publication Date - 15 October 2015

ISBN: 9780190280710

432 pages
7-1/2 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

The best-selling reader in corrections


A comprehensive and critical review of corrections, Correctional Contexts: Contemporary and Classical Readings, Fifth Edition, traces the history and development of corrections and punishment as it has evolved in the U.S. over the past few centuries. This text presents both classical and contemporary articles that cover the history of corrections in the U.S.; discusses how various facets of the system operate today; and considers where we as a country may be headed regarding the confinement, control, and treatment of our correctional populations. Each chapter opens with an introduction and concludes with study questions.

New to this Edition

  • A total of twelve new readings on such topics as living in prison, gender issues, sex offenders, youthful offenders, correctional reentry programs, probation officer training, and Project HOPE
  • Part VII, "Contemporary Issues," features three new articles that explore several pertinent and dynamic issues

About the Author(s)

Edward J. Latessa is Director and Professor of the School of Criminal Justice at the University of Cincinnati.

Alexander M. Holsinger is Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Previous Publication Date(s)

July 2010
July 2005
January 2001


"Correctional Contexts covers the primary areas I like to address in class but still allows me to introduce new material through my lectures. It is written at a level that challenges students and does an excellent job of exposing them to both classical and contemporary literature in the field."--Eric J. Wodahl, University of Wyoming

"This text is comprehensive: it provides a historical perspective, takes students through the entire spectrum of the field, and is instructor friendly."--Elvira M. White-Lewis, Texas A&M Commerce University

Table of Contents

    *=New to this Edition
    About the Contributors
    1. The Spectacle of Suffering, Pieter C. Spierenburg Using a systems approach, Spierenburg explores the origins of the criminal justice system and the rise of the nation state in pre-industrial Western Europe. The criminal justice system at several points throughout history is identified as a tool of governmental repression.
    2. The Discovery of the Asylum, David J. Rothman Rothman considers urbanization, industrialization, and reform in his piece on the rise of the American penitentiary, in which he investigates the origin and design of the early penal institutions.
    3. A Look at Prison History, Thorsten Sellin Sellin analyzes the transition from confinement strictly for the purpose of detention to confinement as the punishment itself. He explores the conditions in the early institutions as well as prison labor.
    4. Partial Justice: Women, Prisons, and Social Control, Nicole Hahn Rafter Rafter examines the criminal justice system in general, and the Albion, New York, institution for women in particular as mechanisms of social control for women throughout the early twentieth century.
    5. Sentencing in the United States, Lawrence F. Travis, III Travis reviews the theory and philosophy of punishing and corrections. He discusses the prediction of future behavior and truth in sentencing, two of the more salient issues that face judges and legislators.
    6. Assessing the Penal Harm Movement, Francis T. Cullen Cullen reviews the impact of America's imprisonment binge and explores what damage may have resulted. He offers guidelines for the future of penal strategy.
    7. The Prison Community, Donald Clemmer Clemmer examines one aspect of the prison subculture, "prisonization," and its origins.
    * 8. Depth, Weight, Tightness: Revisiting the Pains of Imprisonment, Ben Crewe Analysis of the overt and covert "pains of imprisonment" has a long history in correctional research. Crewe revisits the relevance of historically identified pains of imprisonment and offers a vivid account and new conceptualization of what living in prison really entails.
    9. Relationships Between Inmates and Guards, Victor Hassine Hassine discusses the relationships between inmates and guards, contending that these relationships are complex and essentially hold prisons together. When stress in the form of overcrowding and understaffing occurs, the social control of the prison is jeopardized.
    10. A Block, Ted Conover Conover worked as a correctional officer at Sing Sing to understand the guard culture.
    * 11. Preventing Fatal Attractions: Lessons Learned from Inmate Boundary Violators in a Southern Penitentiary System, Robert M. Worley, Richard Tewksbury, and Durant Frantzen All state prison systems have codified rules (including laws in some instances) defining and forbidding relationships between inmates and employees (most notably guards). Worley, Tewksbury, and Frantzen present rich data and reflections on this pervasive issue.
    * 12. Correctional Officer Burnout and Stress: Does Gender Matter?, Joseph R. Carlson, Richard H. Anson, and George Thomas Prison can be a very stressful environment for both inmates and guards. This piece examines prison guards' stress and burnout through the lens of gender in light of the increasing number of women who have entered the corrections field.
    13. The Past and Future of U.S. Prison Policy, Craig Haney and Philip Zimbardo Twenty-five years after their famous Stanford Prison Experiment, Haney and Zimbardo review the changes that have occurred in the criminal justice and correctional system.
    14. The Supreme Court and Prisoners' Rights, Jack E. Call There are three periods of case law and the prisoners' rights movement: (1) the hands-off period, (2) the rights period, and (3) the deference period. Call traces these movements and highlights the important cases.
    * 15. The Effect of Megan's Law on Sex Offender Reintegration, Jill S. Levenson and Leo P. Cotter Few if any types of offenders cause more anxiety for criminal justice stakeholders and the public at large than sex offenders. Levenson and Cotter take a close look at offender notification programs and their intended as well as unintended effects.
    16. What Works? Questions and Answers about Prison Reform, Robert Martison Martinson summarizes the findings of a commission set up by the State of New York to seek the most effective forms of correctional treatment. His Martinson Report initiated a raging debate.
    17. The Principles of Effective Correctional Programs, Don A. Andrews Perhaps no other researcher has done more to help us understand the importance of correctional treatment than Don Andrews. Through his work, he has articulated some principles of effective correctional programming.
    * 18. Effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioral Interventions for Youthful Offenders-Review of the Research, Edward J. Latessa In recent years the popularity of cognitive behavioral interventions has grown dramatically as more and more studies demonstrate its effectiveness in reducing recidivism. Latessa examines the different models that are used and explores the research.
    * 19. Prevalence of Criminal Thinking Among State Prison Inmates with Serious Mental Illness, Robert D. Morgan, William H. Fisher, Naihua Duan, Jon T. Mandracchia, and Danielle Murray Morgan and his colleagues compare a group of mentally disordered offenders to non-mentally disordered offenders and find that indices of criminal attitudes are as high or higher among the mentally disordered group. This research makes a compelling case that with an offender population, mental illness and criminal thinking often co-occur, and both need to be adequately addressed if we want to reduce recidivism.
    * 20. Why Work Is Important and How to Improve the Effectiveness of Correctional Reentry Programs that Target Employment, Edward J. Latessa Work is a very important part of most of our lives and is often seen as a remedy for reducing recidivism. Latessa addresses some of the ways to improve programs that focus on employment as part of the reentry process.
    * 21. An Experimental Demonstration of Training Probation Officers in Evidence-Based Community Supervision, James Bonta, Guy Bourgon, Tanya Rugge, Terri-Lynne Scott, Annie K. Yessine, Leticia Gutierrez, and Jobina Li This research by Bonta and his colleagues demonstrates that training probation officers on core correctional practices can have a measureable effect on reducing recidivism. This is a must-read for anyone planning to work in or study community supervision.
    22. Beyond Correctional Quackery, Edward J. Latessa, Francis T. Cullen, and Paul Gendreau Despite overwhelming evidence that well-designed, empirically based correctional programs can reduce recidivism, "correctional quackery" abounds. Latessa and his colleagues identify four failures of correctional practice.
    23. How to Prevent Prisoner Reentry Programs from Failing: Insights from Evidence-Based Corrections, Shelley Johnson Listwan, Francis T. Cullen, and Edward J. Latessa With prison populations at an all-time high, the number of offenders being released into the community is staggering. Listwan and her colleagues present a blueprint for designing reentry programs that can work.
    24. Halfway Houses, Edward J. Latessa, Lawrence F. Travis, III, and Christopher Lowenkamp Halfway houses have a long history in America, yet until recently little was known about their effectiveness in reducing recidivism. Latessa and his colleagues trace the development of halfway houses and discuss what is known about their effectiveness.
    * 25. Is Project HOPE Creating a False Sense of Hope? A Case Study in Correctional Popularity, Stephanie A. Duriez, Francis T. Cullen, and Sarah M. Manchak Over the years there have been numerous attempts to straighten offenders out through punishment. In this critique of one such effort, Duriez and her colleagues discuss the limitations of this approach in bringing about long-term behavioral change.
    26. Putting Public Safety First: 13 Strategies for Successful Supervision and Reentry, Pew Center on the States Pew offers practical strategies for improving offender reentry and supervision.
    * 27. Reducing Recidivism: Corrections Directors in Five States Share Lessons Learned, Pew Center on the States Recently there has been a renewed understanding that correctional systems have a responsibility not only to house and care for offenders but also to reduce recidivism. Five state directors of corrections share their wisdom on these efforts.
    28. Social Consequences of the War on Drugs: The Legacy of Failed Policy, Eric L. Jensen, Jerg Gerber, and Clayton Mosher Jenson and his associates argue that the so-called War on Drugs in America has had grave consequences for American corrections. Diminished life chances, joblessness, HIV and AIDS, reduced social bonds, and disenfranchisement of minorities are some of the legacies of this misguided effort.
    * 29. Is Motherhood Important? Imprisoned Women's Maternal Experiences Before and During Confinement and their Postrelease Expectations, Sandra L. Barnes and Ebonie Cunningham Stringer
    * 30. Getting It Right: Realigning Juvenile Corrections in Ohio to Reinvest in What Works, Gabriella Celeste Few states have been as successful in reducing the number of youth committed to juvenile institutions as Ohio. Celeste discusses the strategy that was used to achieve this reduction.

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