Hardback
June 15, 2014
9781421413228
English
312
122249
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
1.06 Inches (US)
1.25 Pounds (US)
$44.95 USD, £33.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference
Electronic book text
June 15, 2014
9781421413235
9781421413228
English
312
122249
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
$44.95 USD, £33.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Coxsackie

The Life and Death of Prison Reform

How progressive good intentions failed at Coxsackie, once a model New York State prison for youth offenders.

Should prisons attempt reform and uplift inmates or, by means of principled punishment, deter them from further wrongdoing? This debate has raged in Western Europe and in the United States at least since the late eighteenth century.

Joseph F. Spillane examines the failure of progressive reform in New York State by focusing on Coxsackie, a New Deal reformatory built for young male offenders. Opened in 1935 to serve "adolescents adrift," Coxsackie instead became an unstable and brutalizing prison. From the start, the liberal impulse underpinning the prison’s mission was overwhelmed by challenges it was unequipped or unwilling to face—drugs, gangs, and racial conflict.

Spillane draws on detailed prison records to reconstruct a life behind bars in which "ungovernable" young men posed constant challenges to racial and cultural order. The New Deal order of the prison was unstable from the start; the politics of punishment quickly became the politics of race and social exclusion, and efforts to save liberal reform in postwar New York only deepened its failures. In 1977, inmates took hostages to focus attention on their grievances. The result was stricter discipline and an end to any pretense that Coxsackie was a reform institution.

Why did the prison fail? For answers, Spillane immerses readers in the changing culture and racial makeup of the U.S. prison system and borrows from studies of colonial prisons, which emblematized efforts by an exploitative regime to impose cultural and racial restraint on others.

In today’s era of mass incarceration, prisons have become conflict-ridden warehouses and powerful symbols of racism and inequality. This account challenges the conventional wisdom that America’s prison crisis is of comparatively recent vintage, showing instead how a racial and punitive system of control emerged from the ashes of a progressive ideal.

About the Author

Joseph F. Spillane is an associate professor of history at the University of Florida. He is the author of several books, including Cocaine: From Medical Marvel to Modern Menace in the United States, 1884–1920, also published by Johns Hopkins.

Reviews

"Damn it's compelling... If you're interested in the historical roots of our prison system, you ought to spend an evening with this book."

- Alfred Brophy, UNC School of Law - The Faculty Lounge

"Archival shelves laden with criminal justice records await informed examination. Historian Spillane found a pertinent data set and analyzed it, brilliantly so."

- Choice

"Should be required reading for historians of juvenile and criminal corrections... Presents a compelling cautionary tale that contemporary would-be reformers ignore at their peril, while offering important new insights for scholars."

- American Historical Review

Endorsements

"Even-handed and free of jargon, Joseph F. Spillane's Coxsackie takes readers inside the prison and brings them face to face with prison life. The result is a revealing account of how our criminal justice system operates on the ground level. Spillane demonstrates in a compelling way how the realities of prison life often defeat the reform efforts that politicians impose on our correctional system."

- Edward D. Berkowitz, George Washington University
Johns Hopkins University Press
Reconfiguring American Political History
From 17

9781421413228 : coxsackie-spillane
Hardback
312 Pages
$44.95 USD
9781421413235 : coxsackie-spillane
Electronic book text
312 Pages
$44.95 USD

Other Titles by Joseph F. Spillane

Cocaine

Joseph F. Spillane
Aug 2002 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$53.00 USD - Hardback
$32.00 USD - Paperback / softback

Other Titles from Reconfiguring American Political History

Bennington and the Green Mountain Boys

Robert E. Shalhope
Mar 2020 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$50.00 USD - Paperback / softback
$50.00 USD - Electronic book text

Burdens of War

Jessica L. Adler
Aug 2017 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$49.95 USD - Hardback
$49.95 USD - Electronic book text

Securing the West

John R. Van Atta
May 2014 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$54.95 USD - Hardback
$54.95 USD - Electronic book text

Other Titles in HISTORY / United States / State & Local / Middle Atlantic (DC, DE, MD, NJ, NY, PA)

Of the Land

edited by Will Stovall, foreword by Harry Cooper
Feb 2022 - Georgetown University Press
$29.95 USD - Hardback

Sixteenth Street NW

John DeFerrari, Douglas Peter Sefton
Feb 2022 - Georgetown University Press
$34.95 USD - Hardback
$34.95 USD - Electronic book text

The Black Side of the River

Jessica A. Grieser
Feb 2022 - Georgetown University Press
$29.95 USD - Hardback
$29.95 USD - Electronic book text

Other Titles in History of the Americas

The Silent Shore

Charles L. Chavis Jr.
Jan 2022 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$29.95 USD - Hardback
$29.95 USD - Electronic book text

Brazil in the Global Nuclear Order, 1945–2018

Carlo Patti
Dec 2021 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$54.95 USD - Hardback
$54.95 USD - Electronic book text

FDR in American Memory

Sara Polak
Dec 2021 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$54.95 USD - Hardback
$54.95 USD - Electronic book text