A seminal work, this is a unique book in that it provides personal accounts from prisoners telling what it is really like to live in prison as well as historical and contextual information. It is the personal stories, which provide a realistic and poignant look at what life is like as a prisoner, that are the strength of this book.
Focusing on the experiences of men in prison, this book considers the basic human dimensions of prison life, including the means of coping, the nature of prison culture, and the prison officers agenda. The history of prisons, their current conditions, and efforts toward reform are also discussed at length. Firsthand testimony from people who live or work in prisons is prominently featured. Johnson teaches at the American University. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)