1st Edition

The American Penal System Transparency as a Pathway to Correctional Reform

By Helen Clarke Molanphy Copyright 2022
    146 Pages
    by Routledge

    146 Pages
    by Routledge

    This thoughtful examination of incarceration in the United States from the 1980s to the current time offers for consideration a transparent and humane correctional model for the future. Author Helen Clarke Molanphy employs an interdisciplinary approach encompassing sociology, penology, memoir, philosophy, and history.

    Featuring the work of researchers as well as penal theorists of the Enlightenment era, literati who have written about crime and punishment, inmates, social justice activists, and journalists, the author incorporates first-hand interviews with participants in the landmark Ruiz v. Estelle lawsuit, which found incarceration in the Texas Department of Corrections to be cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Synthesizing lessons learned from years of studying the American prison system through contact with inmates, correctional authorities, legislators, and prisoner advocates, Molanphy offers a narrative of crime and punishment, degradation, and dehumanization, but with hope pointing to future correctional reforms. The book not only catalogs human rights abuses and the pain inflicted by corrupt penal systems, but also provides a roadmap for an enlightened society to conceive of ways to reduce mass incarceration and provide humane treatment of inmates.

    This reflective survey of the pervasive issues that afflict the prison industrial complex offers a compelling analysis of the past and possible future of the US penal system for students of criminal justice, corrections, penology, and the sociology of punishment.

    Part I - The Texas Department of Corrections

    1 - Texas Control Model

    2 - Jailhouse Lawyers

    3 - Ruiz v. Estelle

    4 - Texas Prison Administrators

    5 - Texas Today

    Part II - Demographics of American Prisons

    6 - The Unschooled

    7 - The Young and the Old

    8 - The Female Inmate

    9 - Poor People of Color

    10 - The Political Prisoner

    Part III - Major Problems in Corrections

    11 - Guard Brutality and Corruption

    12 - Wrongfully Convicted

    13 - Treatment of Mentally Ill Inmates

    14 - Prison Labor

    15 - Privatization of Corrections

    Part IV - Toward Ending Mass Incarceration

    16 - Legislative Agendas

    17 - The Supreme Court and the US Department of Justice

    18 - Reducing Recidivism

    19 - Alternative Models

    20 - Restorative Justice



    Dr. Helen Clarke Molanphy is political science emeritus professor at Richland College in Dallas, Texas. She has taught sociology and criminal justice courses at various institutions including Southern Methodist University, the University of Texas at Dallas, Adams State University, the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and the Santa Fe Community College. Molanphy is the author of a family memoir, Over P.J. Clarke's Bar: Tales from New York's Famous Saloon, using her maiden name, Helen Marie Clarke. She resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with her husband, John Molanphy.

    "This book is an excellent survey of the pervasive issues that plague the American Prison System, and it eloquently interrogates valuable solutions for those very problems."

    Dr. Tyrell Connor, Associate Professor, SUNY New Paltz