Prisons and Prison Systems
A Global Encyclopedia
by Mitchel P. Roth
November 2005, 392pp, 7x10
1 volume, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-0-313-32856-5
$87, £65, 73€, A125
eBook Available: 978-0-313-06042-7
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Examines the diversity of prisons and prison systems throughout the world, allowing readers to better understand this integral part of the criminal justice system.

Prisons have undoubtedly changed over the years, as have penal practices in general, though more so in some countries than others. Prisons and prison systems have long been an overlooked part of criminal justice research, and as a result, limited material is available on many institutions. This comprehensive encyclopedia provides a historical overview of institutions and systems around the world, as well as penal theories, prisoner culture and life, and notable prisoners and personnel.

Readers will find a plethora of information including material on such famous prisons as the Tower of London and Alcatraz, as well as on such topics as boot camps and parole. Other entries include Devil’s Island, supermaximum prisons, Nelson Mandela, Pennsylvania system, and Amnesty International. Numerous appendixes list famous prisoners, prison museums, prison slang, and more.


"Crime and punishment are nearly as old as the world itself, and it is a world view of one element of punishment, incarceration, that Roth presents in this one-volume work. A succinct preface clearly defines organization and methodology of inclusion and exclusion. An introduction offers a brief history of incarceration, and is followed by a chronology from 1900 BCE to 2004 CE. The main body of the work consists of nearly 500 alphabetically arranged, cross-referenced entries ranging in length from a paragraph to several pages; each lists one or more sources. The scope is impressive, covering everything from famous prisons (Alcatraz), famous prisoners (Nelson Mandela), and prison reformers (Dorothea Dix) to prison architecture (panopticon), prison innovations (supermaximum prisons), prison terminology (parole), prison slang (screw), prison organizations (Amnesty International), and much more; especially useful are the more than 200 entries on national prison systems.... This truly unique and valuable resource is well suited and accessible for both research and browsing, and is eminently suitable for academic and larger public libraries. Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty/researchers; general readers."—Choice, May 1, 2006

"[A] good contribution to the field, and will be a useful addition for law libraries, criminology researchers, and universities. It has an easy style, clearly printed with a good size type and will also prove popular with general readerships and public libraries."—Reference Reviews, October 1, 2006

"Any college-level collection with a focus on law enforcement should have Mitchel P. Roth's Prisons and Prison Systems: A Global Encyclopedia in their collection: it packs in details on famous prisons, prisoners, prison museums, prison culture, writings by prisoners and more, with listings ranging from paragraphs of biographical detail to near-essay fullness."—The Midwest Book Review - California Bookwatch, April 1, 2006

"This reference for criminal justice researchers provides a historical overview of prison institutions and systems around the world. Arranged alphabetically, the cross-referenced entries cover important facilities, prominent reformers, famous prisoners, major architects, and relevant legislation. The focus is on traditional correctional facilities, and prisoner-of-war camps and concentration camps are not covered. More than a dozen appendices offer supplemental information on such topics as prison slang and international standards for the treatment of prisoners."—Reference & Research Book News, February 1, 2006
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