Johnson, Judith R.

Penitentiaries in Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and Utah From 1900 to 1980
1997 0-7734-8663-1
Through the use of public documents and other primary sources, this volume offers a comprehensive review of the history and experiences of penitentiaries in the Far Southwest. While it is overall a chronological and topical examination of adult, male prisons in a specific region of the country, this study in particular addresses issues related to education and labor practices for inmates that changed over time in both format and intent. The study contributes to an understanding of penology in the present and provides a basis for informed decisions in the future. It reveals that policy for penal institutions in the Far Southwest represents reaction rather than action. It also introduces the reader to some of the harsh realities of prison life: inactivity, boredom, and frustration, culminating in devastating riots. It explores the issues of purpose and overcrowding as constant themes in penology. The situation in the Far Southwest, in most cases, reflects the national experience where politics, practices, and the question of rehabilitation versus punishment remain debated and unresolved concerns. It will be interest to scholars in sociology, criminal justice, and history, particularly in the area of the twentieth century and the American West.