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 buildingsof 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 impoverishedneighborhoods)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 toa healthier life after incarceration.