« Seminars at Dewey: Week of 10/16-10/20 | Main | Seminars at Dewey: Week of 10/23-10/27 »

Reference Resource: Punishment In America: A Reference Handbook

Title: Punishment in America: A Reference Handbook.
Author: Cyndi Banks
Publication information: (2005) Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio, Inc.
Dewey Location: REF HV 9466 B35 2005

The idea of punishing people in our society raises many questions. Our first Reference Resource begins to answer such questions as:

“Why should offenders be punished at all? How did punishment originate, and what should be its purpose? Howe does society decide what are the most appropriate ways to punish and how have these methods of punishment changed over time and why? Do we punish because we believe in retribution, or do we just think it is better to lock up all criminals and incapacitate them so they cannot reoffend? ��?

The book is organized into several sections. The first is a section titled: “The History of Punishment in America,��? which discusses: the use of corporal punishment, the growth of the penitentiary, reformatories, and the movement toward rehabilitation and community service. Another section, “Problems, Controversies and Solutions,��? discusses major policy issues surrounding punishment, such as: gender issues, capital punishment, white collar crime, and privatization of prisons. The global perspective is touched upon, and a chronology of major events in the history of punishment is provided. Very brief, one paragraph biographical sketches of notables who influenced our concept of punishment in America include: John Augustus, Alexis de Tocqueville, Thomas Eddy and others. A “Facts and Data��? section gives information on the prison population, number of sex offenders, incarceration rates, and death penalty statistics. In addition, there is a section providing agencies and organizations that deal with this topic, as well as a bibliography of print and non-print resources.

The heart and soul of this book is the section providing the history of punishment in America, and it is a good resource to get the “big picture��? on this important topic. This background information may be helpful to provide the context for an issue that is being researched or possibly help a researcher focus from a broad concept to a research thesis.

You will find this book in the Reference Section of the Dewey Library.