|American Jails: A Retrospective Examination
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This book draws upon the observations of contributors who wrote about American jails prior to the 1940s. They provide readers with a comprehensive account of jail operations and conditions from the turn of the 20th century until the Great Depression. During this time, jails were labeled a "human dumping ground" and that description was accurate given the dismal conditions that many inmates endured: men, women, and juveniles were often held together in makeshift jails. Seldom was much thought given to their care and jails were often places of filth, depravity and deprivation. Some of the jailers who operated these facilities were as corrupt, violent, and immoral as the inmates they were responsible for supervising. Like today, most inmates had not been found guilty of a crime and many were in jail because they could not scrape together a few dollars for bail or a fine. Other jail inmates were witnesses, runaway juveniles, or persons with mental illness who were held in the local jail because no other residential alternatives existed. Yet, despite this depressing appraisal of jail conditions, many of the contributors were optimistic about the possibility of jail reform. While local jail conditions are far more humane and professionally operated today, this book outlines how many still suffer from the same problems identified almost a century ago.
- Paperback: 268 pages
- ISBN-10: 0979645530
- ISBN-13: 978-0979645532