Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2015. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy).

date: 18 November 2017

Abstract and Keywords

This article explores why the United States and the United Kingdom have acquired such a deep cultural attachment to the prison. Section I introduces the history of prisons and the development of imprisonment as the primary means of punishment in Western industrialized nations. It paints the history of imprisonment with very broad brushstrokes, highlighting a few key moments in the development of the prison that leave a persistent legacy and continue to shape our understanding of prisons today. Section II explores recent history (since the 1960s) and attempts to account for the dramatic increases and racial disparities in the US prison population during a period when overall crime rates were declining. Section III examines the sociological and psychological literature on the “effects” of imprisonment and considers the particular problems of drugs, mental illness, and suicide in prisons. Section IV reflects on some of the most salient and challenging issues that are raised.

Keywords: United States, United Kingdom, imprisonment, punishment, racial disparities, prison population

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.