Ironies of Imprisonment

1st Edition

Michael Welch
eISBN-13: 9781452237398

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Additional Book Details

From the Foreword


"Michael Welch′s book is an invitation to think. It is an invitation to grow intellectually and critically, as a consumer of crime policy and an observer of the American scene. Written by a scholar who has dedicated his work to uncovering the hidden ironies of formal crime policy, this is a collection of essays of depth and significance."


-Todd R. Clear, Distinguished Professor, John Jay College of Criminal Justice


Praise for Ironies of Imprisonment:

"The American correctional system is too often misshaped by a toxic mixture of ideology, anti-intellectualism, wishful thinking, and structural interests. Michael Welch uses his substantial critical skills to illuminate how these various factors intersect to create policies and practices that produce, in the end, more injustice and less public safety. His sobering analysis deconstructs the rhetoric used to justify mass imprisonment and its unanticipated, disquieting consequences."

-Frank Cullen, University of Cincinnati


"Michael Welch has written a book which anyone who is looking for an alternative to conventional and conservative approaches to prisons and punishment should read. Welch provides the groundwork for the development of a penology which engages critically with the growing tensions and ironies of imprisonment."


-Roger Matthews, Middlesex University




Ironies of Imprisonment examines in-depth an array of problems confronting correctional programs and policies from the author′s singular and consistent critical viewpoint. The book challenges the prevailing logic of mass incarceration and traces the ironies of imprisonment to their root causes, manifesting in social, political, economic, and racial inequality.


Key Features

A compelling Foreword written by Todd E. Clear, an internationally recognized leader in the field of criminal justice.
Chapters open with illuminating real-life vignettes and end with provocative review questions.
The author′s knowledgeable and dynamic voice provides a consistent perspective on key issues such as the war on drugs, the war on terror, prison violence, capital punishment, health care, and the prison industry.
Up-to-date presentation of pertinent subject matter, including chief developments in research and theory.
Discussion of the problems facing corrections in a post-September 11th world.

Unique and accessible, this book promises to stimulate spirited discussion and debate over the use of prisons. Ironies of Imprisonment is recommended reading for students in corrections classes at the undergraduate and graduate levels in sociology, criminology, and criminal justice departments. In addition, it can be used in conjunction with a core text in courses on policy, theories of punishment, and social problems. The book will also be of interest to a general audience interested in reading about incarceration.


Michael Welch is the author of numerous articles and several books on the subject of punishment and social control, including Punishment in America (1999), Flag Burning: Moral Panic and the Criminalization of Protest (2000), and Detained: Immigration Laws and the Expanding I.N.S. Jail Complex (2002). He has correctional experience at the federal, state, and local levels. Welch received a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of North Texas, Denton and is Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University.

Sold By SAGE Publications
ISBNs 9780761930594, 9780761930594, 9780761930594, 9781412904803, 9781412904803, 9781452237398, 9781452222226, 1452237395
Language English
Number of Pages 256
Edition 1st