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Kind and usual punishment Paperback – August 12, 1974


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 373 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (August 12, 1974)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394710932
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394710938
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 4.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,040,374 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rasheed Abdullah on February 15, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book went very deep into the bowels of the American prison system. Jessica Mitford went through great lengths to uncover the myriad of problems with America's prisons. Anyone wanting prison reform need only be armed with this book. Granted, the book was published 40 years ago but I doubt much has changed.

It is clear from the book that Mitford is making a case for prison reform at the very least and total abolition of the prisons at the most. As she mentioned in the book, prisons were made for deterring, rehabilitating and protecting the public. She also mentioned that at one time the prisons were also for punishment but they dropped that from their noblest of goals. It was clear then as it is now that prisons fail to deter crime and they definitely don't rehabilitate. Just about the only thing that prisons do is protect the public.

Jessica brings up some compelling arguments and indefatigable statistics, but in the end the question will always be: What is our alternative? The public has a right to be protected from loose cannons and truthfully, many of the criminals deserved to be punished. I definitely liked the book and I think Mitford, at the very least, should be commended for her extensive research and presenting of the facts. This book is a very good look inside an ugly place.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Steven J. Morris on March 23, 2009
Format: Paperback
Jessica Mitford gives an in depth analysis of how prisons function in society. She reviews the state of literature at the time. Most interesting was a study in which they hired people to pretend they were in prison for a month and others to act as guards. The study had to be disbanded early because of the extreme psychological impact on both "prisoners" and "guards." Chilling!

Oh yes! The title! If it is legal punishment under the constitution it must be "Kind and Usual" because the other kind is unconstitutional.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Robert W. Todd on September 24, 2002
Format: Paperback
In the past almost three years, I have been corresponding with a dozen or more women in, primarily, the Texas prisons (TDCJ). What the author of this book says is sadly so true. America just wants to lock up its problems, get free labor, and oil the economy of the outlying areas where the "units" are located. This is a must read for anyone that votes
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By komboa on November 16, 2013
Format: Paperback
I contributed to this book, when I was a prisoner in the Federal Bureau of Prison's prison hospital at Springfield, MO. I was in the behavior modification program, along with many others who were subjected to torture, forded drugging, and long-term solitary confinement. I was fortunate to have gotten out before too much damage was done to me because I had filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the unit. It was ultimately closed down by a federal court. Why was the unit opened in the first place? This was after the civil rights period,and the Attica prison rebellion had taken place. Prisoners began to engage in strikes and other forms of resistance,and saw themselves as as fighting for human and civil rights. Officials felt that they were losing control of their facilities. Their response was this behavior modification facility, which became the forerunner for the Marion, (IL.) "H-block" at the federal penitentiary there, and led up to today 'Special Handling Units" and long-term solitary confinement units today in U.S. prisons. These were and are today "political prisons", concentration camps for the poor, political critics,and militant prisoners. This book opened the door so that millions could see what is happening. A true classic, I wish it were still in print!
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