Alcatraz: A definitive history of the penitentiary years. Michael Esslinger provides a very readable narrative that blends a journalistic balance along with a skilled historian's ability to bring a rich depth into this history.
(Ocean View Publishing, 2003).
The American Indian In the White Man's Prisons: A collective statement of Native American prisoners, former prisoners, and spiritual leaders, edited by Little Rock Reed. (Reed, Uncompromising Books [P.O. Box 1760, Taos, New Mexico, 87571], 1993.)
Behind the Razor Wire: A Portrait of a Contemporary Prison. (Michael Jacobson-Hardy: New York University Press, 1999).
Capitalist Punishment: Prison Privitization and Human Rights. (Neufield, Campbell, and Coyle (editors), Clarity Press, 2003.)
Celling of America: Daniel Burton-Rose, Daniel Pens, and Paul Wright have collected reports from America's prisons, many of which ran in Prison Legal News.
Discpline and Punish: The birth of a prison. Michael Foucault examines the history of punishment in France and Britain, and role of prisons in society. (Foucalt, Vintage Books, 1995 ed.)
Going Up the River: Pulitizer Prize winner Joseph Hallinan delivers a clear-eyed, sleekly written and deeply disturbing tour of the privatized prison landscape of America.
Hard Time Blues: How politics built a prison nation. Journalist Sasha Abramsky believes America's exploding prison population is a fatal threat to civil society. (Abramsky, Dunne Books, 2002.)
Jailhouse Journalism: The Fouth Estate behind bars. A history of prison journalism from the beginnings of the 18th century to the ground-breaking work of Louisiana's Angloite.
Life in Prison: Stanley "Tookie" Williams is a founder of Crips and a prisoner on California's death row. This book is a harsh, realistic look at prison life, written for children up to fourth grade. (Hazeldon Books, 1999.)
Lockdown America: Police and prisons in the age of crisis. Christian Parenti's study of the prison buildup of the last 15 years. Parenti makes clear that prisons are about everything but individual reform. See the review from The Nation. (Verso Press, 1999.)
Lucasville: The Untold Story of a Prison Uprising (Staughton Lynd: Temple University Press, 2004).
Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing. Journalist Ted Conover became a corectional officer in order to write the inside story.(Random House, 2000.)
Oxford History of the Prison: A scholarly and thorough work about the practice of punishment in Western society. (Norval Morris and David Rothman, eds., Oxford University Press, 1995)
Prison Nation: The warehousing of America's poor. Written by prisoners, social critics, and luminaries of investigative reporting, this book examines the state of prison conditions and prisoners' political concerns. (Paul Wright and Tara Herivel (editors), Routledge, 2003.)
Prison Madness: The plight of mentally ill prisoners told by a psychiatrist with extensive experience in large class-action suits challenging mental health care inside prison systems. (Terry Kupers, Jossey-Bass Press, 1999)
Race to Incarcerate: Marc Mauer charts the explosive growth of prisons and the trend toward lengthening sentences. ( New Press, 1999.)
Sensible Justice: Alternatives to Prison. David Anderson explores creative solutions some states and cities nationwide have devised to tackle the prison problem, and confronts many of the myths that have been believed about alternative sentencing. (New Press, 1998.)
Total Confinement: Madness and Reason in the Maximum Security Prison. (Lorna A. Rhodes: University of California Press, 2004).
Women in Prison: A Reference Handbook. Cyndi Banks investigates women's incarceration, from the first women-only prison to modern state-of-the-art facilities. (ABC-CLIO, 2003.)
The Death Penalty
All Things Censored: Mumia Abu-Jama from Pennsylvania's death row. This book and CD Rom presents a collection of his writings, including essays that were banned from National Public Radio. (Seven Stories Press, 2000.)
Beyond Repair?: America's Death Penalty. An indispensable guide to legal system's inability to administer the death penalty fairly. (Stephen Garvey (editor). Duke University Press, 2003.)
Dead Man Walking: Helen Prejean's eyewitness account of the death penalty. A powerful book that describes her experiences in meeting people on death row. (Vintage Books, 1997.)
Death Blossoms: Reflections of a Prisoner of Conscience. Writings by Mumia Abu-Jamal from Pennsylvania's death row. (Plough Publishing House, 1997.)
Death Penalty Cases: Leading U.S. Supreme Court cases on capital punishment (through 2002), edited and analyzed by Barry Latzer. (Latzer, Butterworth-Heinemann, 2002 (2d Ed.).)
Executioner's Song: Norman Mailer's classic work on Gary Gilmore, who was the first person executed after the death penalty resumed in the United States. A powerful, evocative book. (Vintage Books, 1998.)
Execution In the Family: One son's journey. Robert Meeropol was six years old when his parents Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were executed for conspiracy to commit espionage in 1953. ( St. Martins Press, 2003.)
Justice Denied: Examines the clemency process, the final hope for death row prisoners. Cathleen Burnett probes the decision-making process and uncovers a trail of injustice. (Burnett, Northeastern Univ. Press, June 2002.)
Killing Time: Investigative journalist Dave Lindorf takes on the case of Mumia Abu Jamal. Regardless of where one stands on the controversial case, Lindorf offers compelling information that will challenge the reader. (Common Courage Press, 2002)
The Promise of Justice: An eighteen-year fight to save four innocent men in Illinois, which culminated with ther release after a journalism professor and his students uncovering evidence of their innocence. (Protess, Warden, and Warden, Hyperion Press, 1998.)
The Wrong Men: America's Epidemic of Wrongful Death-Row Convictions. Stanley Cohen examines some 100 instances where people sentenced to death were later exonerated, most of them ultimately proven innocent of the crimes for which they were condemned. (Cohen, Carroll & Graf, 2003.)