The growth of Islam both worldwide and particularly in the United States is especially notable among African-American inmates incarcerated in American state and federal penitentiaries. This growth poses a powerful challenge to American penal philosophy, structured on the ideal of rehabilitating offenders through penance and appropriate penal measures. Islam in American Prisons argues that prisoners converting to Islam seek an alternative form of redemption, one that poses a powerful epistemological as well as ideological challenge to American penology. Meanwhile, following the events of 9/11, some prison inmates have converted to radical anti-Western Islam and have become sympathetic to the goals and tactics of the Al-Qa'ida organization. This new study examines this multifaceted phenomenon and makes a powerful argument for the objective examination of the rehabilitative potentials of faith-based organizations in prisons, including the faith of those who convert to Islam.
'Kusha's is the first critical criminology treatment of Muslims in American prisons. His perspective brings to the surface the complexity of prison-bound conversion to Islam and its challenges to prevailing theory and practice. This is essential reading for criminologists, criminal justice professionals, policy makers, and is of great benefit to those concerned with the challenges facing U.S. institutions in a real multicultural society.' Nawal Ammar, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Canada 'Few scholars can successfully confront a multi-directional challenge. They normally focus on a unitary topic where they are most competent. Professor Hamid takes on two hard, yet timely, topics: the tenets of Islam, which is generally misunderstood in the West, and long-time incarceration as punishment for crime, which is misunderstood in the East. To integrate these topics, he elegantly discusses issues of history, justice, faith, culture, social control mechanisms; subjects that essentially form Islam's challenge to American Penology. The book is remarkably well written and the lessons to be learned from it are uniquely enriching.' Sam S. Souryal, Sam Houston State University, USA 'Overall this book offers an encouraging foundation for Muslims and others interested in Islam in American prisons to build upon for future interdisciplinary studies and research. Mining the wealth of topics covered in this book could be useful for legislators, academics and professionals working in criminal justice, Islamic studies and Islamic chaplaincy.' Journal of Intercultural Studies
Contents: Preface; Introduction; Judeo-Christian foundations of American penology; American penal philosophy: an overview; Black incarceration: an historical analysis, 1960-2007; Adverse impacts of incarceration; Islam in American prisons; Islam's challenge to American penology; Conclusions; Index.