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Pains of Imprisonment: Exploring a Classic Text with Contemporary Authors

NCJ Number
Journal of Criminal Justice Education Volume: 13 Issue: 2 Dated: Fall 2002 Pages: 443-461
John Riley
Date Published
19 pages
This article illustrates the importance of supplementing classic corrections texts with more contemporary writings.
The author explains that while classic textbooks, such as Sykes’ Society of Captives, are an important recourse in courses about corrections, they no longer reflect the realities of contemporary corrections. It is important, the author argues, to supplement such texts with illuminating contemporary works. The author shows how such contemporary works may be used in conjunction with classic texts by examining how recent works on prison life by Ted Conover, Victor Hassine, and Leonard Peltier extend and update Sykes’ classic writings about “the pains of imprisonment.” These contemporary writings illustrate in striking detail the concept of the “pain of imprisonment,” which is discussed in Society of Captives. The author argues that more recent works can raise issues that were not present when the classic texts were written; issues such as race, power, prison gangs, and AIDS. Thus, educators should consider supplementing their classic texts with contemporary writings designed to engaged and inform students of recent trends, issues, and directions within corrections. References


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