Book Review: Arriens, J. (2004). Welcome to Hell: Letters and Writings From Death Row (2nd ed.). Boston: Northeastern University Press. pp. 304

Published date01 March 2008
Date01 March 2008
Subject MatterArticles
does not fit well with the overall attempt to contribute to the feminist literature, especially
that relating to doing good reflexive feminist research. It has the feel of being additive and
incidental rather than integral. Furthermore, there are no cross references to other method-
ological approaches and examples to help justify these particular methods.
For this book to make a long-lasting contribution to policy debates, there might have
been an additional objective to this end. I feel this could have been added without compli-
cating the overall aims of the book. There is no clear political message to policy makers in
the same way as there is in Carlen’s (1998) Sledgehammer for instance, and for the most part,
the policy contribution is implicit rather than explicit. For this book to make a long-lasting
contribution to theoretical debates, there might have been a stronger analysis throughout in
the context of the broader feminist literature on gender and women’s imprisonment. Overall
there are few surprises, revelations, or messages that criminology is not already aware of.
The book tends, therefore, to add more weight to some already visible arguments.
However, it would be misleading to end this review on a downward note as this book has
much to commend it. In addition to the points noted earlier in this review, there are posi-
tive comments to be made in terms of clarity of organization and writing style. The book is
clearly written, and the aims and objectives of the book are well expressed and repeated as
appropriate. There are plenty of signposts to remind the reader of key themes and of what
particular issues are being explored in particular chapters and sections. The contents are
clearly set out and logically ordered. There is a structure within each chapter to suit the specific
content, and the writing style is accessible to a range of criminological students, scholars,
and practitioners. Overall the text is an interesting and enjoyable read.
Pamela Davies
Northumbria University
Carlen, P. (1998). Sledgehammer:Women’s imprisonment at the millennium. London: Macmillan.
Weiner,M. J. (1990). Reconstructing the criminal: Culture, law and policy in England 1830-1914. Cambridge,
UK: Cambridge University Press.
Arriens, J. (2004). Welcome to Hell: Letters and Writings From
Death Row (2nd ed.). Boston: Northeastern University Press. pp. 304.
Mr. Arriens is the editor of this collection of writings by death row inmates, compiled
from different time periods and locations throughout the United States. There is a brief
foreword by Sister Helen Prejean, a well-known death penalty opponent and the author of
Dead Man Walking, and a preface by Clive Stafford Smith, an experienced defender in capital
cases and director of the Louisiana Crisis Assistance Center. Mr. Arriens has written a new
introduction for the second edition, outlining his basic idea of letting the inmates’ “inner
122 Criminal Justice Review

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