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Correctional System - An Introduction

NCJ Number
S T Reid
Date Published
524 pages
Encompassing several broad aspects of the criminal justice system, this introductory text to the correctional system examines theoretical, legal, historical, social, and practical considerations that influence the present adult and juvenile correctional system in the United States.
Following an explanation of the basic concepts underlying the justice system, the book focuses on the system's major components: the police, attorneys, judges, the courts, and corrections. The concept of punishment as a societal reaction to crime is considered, including theories of punishment, justifications for punishment, historical background, and punishment methods. The impact of sentencing on corrections, sentencing alternatives, and the sentencing decision receive attention, as do the purpose and organization of probation and research related to probation's effectiveness. Next, discussion focuses on bail, the use of jail for detention prior to trial, historical problems of jails, and recent innovations in programming for jails and jail conditions. An examination of the historical emergence of prisons contrasts the New York and Pennsylvania systems and shows the influence of each on the development of corrections in this country. Another chapter examines in detail the process of prisonization, the development of social roles and methods of social control, homosexuality in prisons, and the various problems associated with violence in men's prisons. The administration and management of prisons is described, with an emphasis on the role of guards and wardens and the problems of prison management. In a discussion of treatment and rehabilitative prison programs, attention is devoted to inmate classification, the development of educational programs and vocational training, specific types of psychological and psychiatric programs, and an assessment of these programs. In addition, recent literature on women's prisons is highlighted, including that on the female in the criminal justice system, in corrections, and in cocorrectional institutions. Other chapters encompass such subjects as release from prison, including parole; the juvenile in corrections; community-based corrections; and legal rights of offenders. A final chapter assesses major trends in corrections and prison reform and notes that resistance to such reform comes from within the prison system as well as from the general public. Illustrations, footnotes, a glossary, tables, indexes, and a selective bibliography of about 125 references are provided. A guide to legal citations of reported decisions is appended. (Author abstract modified)