Book review: the globalization of supermax prisons, edited by jeffrey ian ross, rutgers university press, 2013. 240 pp.

 
FREE EXCERPT

The Globalization of Supermax Prisons is part of a series titled "Critical Issues in Crime and Society." This series, with Raymond J. Michalowski as series editor, "is oriented toward critical analysis of contemporary problems in crime and justice." The purpose of the series is to provide insightful works that will be accessible to scholars, professional criminologists, students and general readers. The other 22 titles available in the series range from the invention of delinquency and women substance abusers, to policing dissent and social justice.

Ross, who is an author, co-author, editor or co-editor of 16 books, brought together 11 authors for this text--including himself, and one former inmate of a supermax prison. Collectively, they discuss and analyze the invention and effect of "yet another American 'peculiar institution:' the so-called supermaximum-security facility, aka the supermax prison." The authors discuss the effects of supermax prisons on corrections in the U.S. and seven other countries, as well as Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib--prisons located in other countries, but owned and run by the U.S.

This installment takes a broad "cross-national approach" to the development and use of supermax. It also raises the question, "what makes a prison/unit a supermax?" Finally, it calls for additional international research into the broader topic of criminal justice. Beginning within U.S. borders, the editor lists a series of questions that the contributing authors attempt to answer. The authors are from Africa. Australia, Britain, Brazil, Netherlands, Mexico, New Zealand and the U.S.

All authors outline their thoughts/findings for their Individual systems in a final conclusion chapter that summarizes the "diverse threads of scholarship presented." with further research and policy implications. While the chapters on the "spread" of supermax prisons to Australia, Brazil, Canada, Great Britain. Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand and South Africa are extremely interesting and informative, the crux for criminal justice professionals in the U.S. are the chapters on the development...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP