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Hard Time: Understanding and Reforming the Prison (Wadsworth Studies in Philosophical Criticism) 3rd Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0534507176
ISBN-10: 0534507174
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About the Author

Johnson has spoken as an expert on organic foods at public education television, and has written a monthly "Organic Update" column for a local community newspaper for the past three years. Also, he manages a community service educational organization. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Wadsworth Studies in Philosophical Criticism
  • Paperback: 362 pages
  • Publisher: Wadsworth Publishing; 3 edition (September 7, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0534507174
  • ISBN-13: 978-0534507176
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #789,806 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Hard Time is a thoughtful and well written examination of issues necessary to understand and reform prison. Johnson discusses prison history, the pains of imprisonment, guards, and some directions for reform. He feels that prison, as punishment, must be painful; it must also (following Plato) make the offender 'less of a wretch.' The author has written extensively about prison and the death penalty. His book, Death Work: A Study of the Modern Execution Process won the book of the year from the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, and parts of it have been reprinted in freshman composition textbooks.
Unlike books by Mauer or Parenti, this book is not about the incarceration binge, the prison industrial complex, etc. Johnson is aware of these issues, but Hard Time is a broader look at imprisonment. The first chapters discuss the history of prison, borrowing from a wide ranging assortment of writing by inmates (and Wardens) to bring to life Johnson's points about institutions in various time periods. He also examines the role of correctional officers, who are imprisoned themselves, and how reforming the prison needs to be done in conjunction with ensuring a guard's job is meaningful work rather than an alienating, high-burnout 'turnkey.' Johnson's reform ideas are influenced by Hans Toch, who has written extensively on violence and human breakdown. Johnson argues for ecological niches where inmates can use the pains of imprisonment to learn to deal with problems without deceit or violence.
I have used this book in an introductory corrections class, and I would recommend it both for that purpose and for an interested reader looking for something comprehensive, balanced, sophisticated and compact.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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