Hard Time: A Fresh Look at Understanding and Reforming the Prison

Hard Time is a book about the history, evolution, and promise of prisons. It offers a fresh and compelling portrait of that hidden world, which more than ever holds a large and growing number of mentally ill inmates, features prominent subcultures of violence, and offers settings of extreme confinement typified by the brutal supermax prison regime. Hard Time ends with realistic and timely recommendations for reform that are grounded in a fresh and original understanding of how inmates and staff strive to find meaning, value, and hope in their prison experiences.


 What colleagues are saying about Hard Time:


“When Hard Time” first came out, it was the best book on the market about prison life for people who live and work there. It still is. This edition, with new data and new insights, is the best place to start for anyone who wants an understanding of the prison experience today.”

Todd Clear, Rutgers University

“This book is both a fine and scholarly introductions to prisons in America and a warning to those outside the United States about the tragic consequences of a lack of compassion or fairness in criminal justice. The authors are following in the fine tradition established by Hans Toch and others when they draw on individual and scholarly empirical accounts of prison life to make us think again about the meaning and effects of hard time.”

Alison LieblingUniversity of Cambridge

“With the authors as their tour guides and individual chapters as important points of destination, readers are about to embark on an exciting correctional adventure. It is a trip worth taking. Indeed, those emerging from this excursion will be rewarded with a sober but ultimately encouraging view of what the American prison can become. I know that I did.”

Francis T. CullenUniversity of Cincinnati

“No other textbook on the subject of imprisonment has comparable depth and breadth, reflects comparable knowledge of history and love of literature, shows as much intimate familiarity with life behind the walls, and offers as many insightful and practical suggestions for reform as this new edition of Hard Time. And I know no other textbook in the field that is as much of a pleasure to read and study”

Hans TochUniversity at Albany, State University of New York

“This is an immensely impressive volume: detailed, balanced and extremely comprehensive. It should be the starting point  for anyone trying to understand prisons and imprisonment in the US and beyond.”

Dr. Ben CreweUniversity of Cambridge