Reforming Punishment: Psychological Limits to the Pains of Imprisonment

Pages: 386
Item #: 4316061
ISBN: 978-1-59147-317-6
List Price: $19.95
Member/Affiliate Price: $19.95
Copyright: 2006
Format: Hardcover
Availability: In Stock
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In Reforming Punishment: Psychological Limits to the Pains of Imprisonment, author Craig Haney argues that the United States has pursued fundamentally flawed prison policies that have crossed the line from imposing punishment to doing real harm. His carefully reasoned argument suggests that—by ignoring the social contextual causes of crime and minimizing the potentially harmful effects of imprisonment itself—these policies not only cause undue pain to the imprisoned but ultimately increase crime.

Today the United States imprisons more people than any other nation. Its prisons are overcrowded, contain unprecedented numbers of mentally ill and nonviolent prisoners, and grossly overrepresent minorities. Too many prison systems still do too little to provide meaningful programming and other forms of effective rehabilitation. Yet adverse conditions can cause prisoners to adapt to the pains of imprisonment in ways that are problematic while they are imprisoned and dysfunctional after they are released.

In this critical and incisive but theoretically and empirically based analysis, Haney examines the key psychological issues at the heart of these problems. He uses modern psychological theory not only to challenge current prison practices but also to point to ways psychologists, policymakers, and others can help create a more effective and humane justice system.

Table of Contents



  1. Humane Values, Psychology, and the Pains of Imprisonment

I. Psychology and the Prison Form

  1. Human Nature and the History of Imprisonment
  2. Spreading Pain: The Punitive State and the State of the Prisons
  3. Attribution Error as Crime Control and Prison Policy

II. Prison as Criminogenic Context

  1. Context Matters: Social History, Circumstance, and Crime Causation
  2. Surviving the Social Context of Prison
  3. Overcrowding and the Situational Pathologies of Prison
  4. "Special Needs" Prisoners in Extremis

III. Using Psychology to Limit Prison Pain

  1. Prison Law and the Disregard of Context
  2. Limiting Prison Pain: A Psychologically Informed Corrections Agenda
  3. Toward a Rational Prison Policy

Author Index

Subject Index

About the Author

Reviews & Awards

Endorsement for books by Craig Haney

Craig Haney's books are works of remarkable synthesis infused with a breadth and depth of scholarship that is rarely achieved. They are masterfully written.
—Albert Bandura, David Starr Jordan Professor of Social Science in Psychology, Stanford University