Society of Captives: A Study of a Maximum Security Prison


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Gresham Sykes wrote the book at the height of the Cold War, motivated by the world's experience of fascism and communism to study the closest thing to a totalitarian system in American life: a maximum security prison. The book is remarkably short--just 150 pages--but bristles with ideas. Sykes argued that many of the psychological effects of modern prison are even more brutal than the physical cruelties of the past. The trauma of being designated one of the very worst human beings in the world left prisoners with lifelong ...

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Jul 31, 2009

Pains of Imprisonment

Sykes delivers an insightful and accurate account of the development of a culture within prisons - a society of captives. Deprived of normal interactions, prisoners react by changing themselves, and not in a good fashion.
Written from a sociological perspective, Sykes gives readers an inside view of what most people will never see - prison.
Anyone with an interest in penology, criminology, or just knows someone behind bars will find this work fascinating.

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