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UWP Book Reviews - Fall 2005

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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Soka University Japan - Transcend Art and Peace
Created: January 8, 2004
Latest Update: December 17, 2005

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Site Teaching Modules UWP Book Reviews - Fall 2005

Site Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individual Authors, September 2002.
"Fair use" encouraged.

* * * * *
Reviews grouped by course.
Student's review in green.
susan's commentaries in bright blue.

From CRMJ/SOCA 363: Corrections

On Thursday, September 29, 2005, Stefanie Parrone reviewed:
Condemned:Inside the Sing Sing Death House

Condemned: Inside the Sing Sing Death House by Scott Christianson

This book was based on the infamous prison Sing, Sing that^“s located in Westchester by the Hudson River. Between the years of 1891-1963, 606 men and 8 women were legally executed and Sing Sing in New York. Before the electric chair, they had what they called the ^”shower bath^‘ which was a chair where you were completely and a huge bucket of water was poured over their head and they drowned! There were a total of 39 cells, 3 of which were for women. They divided the inmates into three different classes: the newly arrived condemned the pre-execution class and the physically and mentally ill. For several decades the legal process moved so fast that the defendant was charged, tried, convicted and executed with in a matter of months! Sing Sing also had its own cemetery on its property! Pablo Vargas was the first man since 1891 to fight until his death when he was executed on 05-12-1960. Of the 606 men who were executed, 133 were African American, 465 were white and 5 were Asian. The other 3 that weren^“t included in the stats were Filipino, Native American, or Hispanic. i think this one deserves * * * stars! it was very educating

stefanie -- can you relate this book to the readings and other materials discussed in class?

On Monday, October 17, 2005, Heather Collins reviewed:
Women on the Row

Summary For "Women On The Row: Revelations From Both Sides Of The Bars" By Kathleen O'Shea. Kathleen compares her life of troubles to the same as the women on death row. Kathleen came from a confusing family. She was adopted by a married couple who was a brother and a sister (as well as her cousins). As an adult she was a nun who taught Spanish and fell in love with a student. For the next few years of her life the girls family threaten to cry "molestation" any time she tried to move on. She compared her struggles of going back to a normal life to women on death row who wish of a normal life and know they will never have that. Many of the women have been raped, sexually and physically abused by loved ones, and had rough childhoods. I think some of their past reflects their decisions of the present. Some of the women are the only ones in the death row so they are put into the hole and cannot communicate with anyone. Others are only allowed 3 showers a day and 3 pairs of clothing a day. Phone calls, family visits, and doctor visits are canceled whenever and for whatever reason. The women have some of the same problems as the prisoners did in Hassines book. They are looked down upon on society and the prison administration, but they have their own problems to deal with; such as how to handle the emotional aspects of grief, regret, guilt, and remorse. Also they are always thinking of their children and how their life is affected by their actions. I would recommend this book but it doesn't give much insight to the world of women and corrections like Hassines book has. This book had short passages about women on death row and some of their struggles. I wish it had more of what happens behind the bars and less of the authors story of her struggle. Sorry this is long, but there is no easy and short way to summarize a book. . .

heather -- be sure to relate this book to the Hassine book and other materials discussed in this course. also, how does this book relate to "theory, policy, practice"?

On Tuesday,October 18 , 2005, Dawn Denny reviewed:
In the Belly of the Beast

The book starts out with jack being a product of foster care, and in and out of Juv. Dentetion centers. Now as an adult he is in prison and has been in and out of Juv. and prison for most of his whole life. Prison has made him a communist. He views prison officials as his enemies. He talks about one time being in the "hole" back when you were starved with out any light what so ever for punishment. He learned to eat cockroaches and other bugs to survive and get protien. I can tie this book into my last sememster class with Takata, Law and social change because Abott is a firm believer of the marxism theory. Also I can tie this book in with the Life with out parol book by Hassine. They both see over crowding, racism, violance, rape, and beating from officers as major problems with in the prison. Hassine uses the run away train as an example, were Abbott goes inot greater depth, more so than Hassine about prisoners murdering priosners, and the gore and inhumane conditions of prison. The two documemtaries that we saw in class: Scared silent and Illinois Stateville prison also goes along with what Abbott describes in his book. How they are treated abusively from guards, the noise level is so loud you cannot think, also the book The Dilemmas of Corrections by Albert and Hass. Prisoners do not have any rights, they are not listend to, or believed. You have to be violent to gain respect and play the Opposite game. If we would treat animals the way we do prisoners, we would be behind bars ourselves. Where is the justice in the Criminal justice system??

dawn -- try to compare and contrast this book with "life without parole." can you tell us how this book relates to "theory, policy, practice"?

On Wednesday, October 26 , 2005, Lisa Olsen reviewed:
Women Who Kill

The book i read was Women Who Kill: Profiles of Serial Killers. It was written by Carol Ann Davis. This book was about thirteen women serial killers. It gave a brief description of thier childhood, and why the author believes that these women committed these murders. Then it gives many details about the crimes they did. Many of them went on sex and killing rampages with their husband and/or loved ones. It then talks about the trials and the sentencing. I would recommend this book to our class, and it can be found at the Kenosha Library.

lisa -- how does this book relate to our class readings? be sure to post this review on yahoo.

On Tuesday,November 15, 2005, Stefanie Parrone reviewed:
Women Who Kill

"Women Who Kill" By: Carol Anne Davis

"Women Who Kill" is a book that profiles 13 different serial killers and goes in depth of thier crimes and thier sentences. All of them were either sentenced to life, sentenced to death or in one case beheaded! one thing that i found very common was the fact the women who were involved with men on thier killing sprees got a much lesser sentence than the men even if they were the main aggressor! I thought the book was extremely interesting and shocking. I say shocking because of the heinous crimes that these women committed and how they were let off easy in some instances!

stef -- what does this book tell us about the interrelationship between "theory, policy and practice"?.

On Monday, November 14 , 2005, Melissa Porter reviewed:
Newjack - Guarding Sing Sing

Newjack- Guarding Sing Sing

By Ted Conover

When I first started looking at this book I thought that it would be all research with little interest. Was I ever wrong. This book was about a researcher named Ted Conover. He wanted to see what the real correctional facility was like and what kind of corruption was going on inside of prisons. After just getting done reading Hassine I was interested to see what Conover had to say about this. The book starts by telling how he wanted to get inside of a prison so he took the correctional officer exam. When Conover talked about the academy I was really surprised to see how much of that was like the law enforcement certification training that I went through. This book had a lot of great viewpoints and I saw a lot of what Hassine was talking about when they were talking about how inmates are treated by different officers. This book had so much going on that it was just amazing to see what officers have to do and what they have to live like to only earn a little of $20,000 a year. I can now see after this why it is so hard for them to get enough officers because of burn out and people who just can not handle it.

melissa -- can you relate this book to the class discussions/readings? .

On Friday, November 18, 2005, Dawn Denny reviewed:
Lost Boys

This book has answers to the questions of why our sons are turning violent and how we can save them. He believes that if we love our children, do not abuse/neglect them, also let them know you are crazy about them by actions not just words. We are raising our children in a social toxic environment and until we change many things our nation and our children are going to become worse. I can relate this to my corrections class and readys by if we would start early in life to prevent problems from happening, programs that work, high risk youth, parenting and the like then we would not have the problem with over crowding prisons and violent people.

dawn -- can you relate this book to the interrelationship between "theory, policy, and pratice"? .

On Tuesday, November 22, 2005, Stefanie Parrone reviewed:
The Disturbed Violent Offender

The Disturbed Violent Offender

By: Hans Toch and Kenneth Adams

This book analyzes the amount of violent offenders that are incarcerated and the reasons behind it. Many times a disturbed violent offender will attempt to plead "not guilty by reason of insanity" and they jury/judge does not accept that plea, therefore they are incarcerated. According to the book, from January 1925- December of 1985 there were a total of 12, 764 offenders locked up in the New York prison system and 8,379 of them were incarcerated for violent offenses. Most of the inmates were forensic patients and some received some type of psychiatric treatment. One example of a disturbed violent offender was a sex offender who sodomized his daughter and was sent to prison. When he arrived to the prison he immediately attempted suicide and was sent to a hospital. When he went back to the prison two inmates tried to scald him with hot water and then tried to hang him. In the 80^s prisons were finding it very hard to accommodate to ^psychotics^. Many people feel that prison is a back up for the hospital because it provides the inmates with their meds and it provides a roof over their head. The book also said that it is easier to imprison a violent disturbed offender if they do not fit into society because then they don^“t put up much of a fight. The book relates to the discussion questions we had about the mentally ill as well as the fact that it applies to theory policy and practice. In theory it would just be easier to institutionalize these people, put the law (policy) says they need to be incarcerated for their crimes. And when they are sent to prison (practice) the prisons find it hard to accommodate to them and they usually have problems with them. So in a sense there's almost nowhere for them to go and feel okay.

stefanie -- is there really "almost no where for them to go and feel okay?".

On Tuesday, November 29, 2005,Jennifer Green reviewed:
Crimes and Punishment: A Pictorial Encyclopedia of Aberrant Behavior

The book I read was Crimes and Punishment: A Pictorial Encyclopedia of Aberrant Behavior collaborated by The Symphonette Press. The book was published in 1973 by BPC Publishing Limited And Credit Services Inc. This book is very insightful to the motives and types of persons who commit crimes. I do not recomend reading this book before bed. Dominant people are more likely to become criminalistic if they do not acheive their goals. There are many persons who find a person, who is not as dominant, to help them on their brigades. A few of these people were Ruth Snyder (dominant) and Judd Grey (they killed her husband) and Ian Brady (dominant) and Myra Hindley who killed a homosexual and framed him with the deaths of two young children. Then the book goes into detail about how blood- testing, fingerprinting and ballistics came about. Some motives for murder mentioned were jealousy, to make a name fom themself and revenge. The book also talks about kidnappings, lady killers, gansters and theives who rehabilitated and worked on the laws side to catch other theives. For each of these cases the book gives the outcomes of their cases and sometimes even goes up to the time of death. I really enjoyed reading this book and would recomend it to everyone.

jennifer -- how does this book relate to our course readings? please discuss this book as it relates to correctional "theory, policy, and practice?"

On Wednesday, November 30, 2005, Dawn Denny reviewed:
Punished by Rewards

I finished Punished by Rewards by Alfie Kohn

This book did suprise me. I knew that you could punish to harshly, and that punitive measures were not the way to do things, but I would have never guessed that rewards could and do more damage than punishment does. I was shocked to read that rewards actually stop someone from doing something they orignally liked to do. Now that I have read the book, he makes it all make sense as to why this happens. I didn't think about how closely they are related, he makes him point time over time in this book.

dawn -- how does this book relate to corrections, then?

On Thursday, December 1, 2005, Brynn Hagen reviewed:
Soul on Ice

I read the book, "Soul On Ice," by Eldridge Cleaver. This book was written while Eldridge was in prison and the civil rights movement was taking place, so a lot was going on. It was somewhat hard to comprehend because he talked about people I really had no knowledge of, but it was a book hard to put down because I could sense his passion of the subject. He mainly talked about the superiority of the white man and the inferiority of the black man, he had such hatred at the beginning of the book, but by the end he talks about his true love for the black women, he somewhat transformed by the ending of the book. It was very interesting, but yet, I wish I knew more about the people he talked about.

brynn -- i wished that you had emailed me your book review earlier in order to allow time to diaslogue on the following two questions: 1) how does this book relate to the issues and readings in this course? and 2) what does this book tell us about correctional "theory, policy and practice?" why.

On Thursday, December 1, 2005, Kevin Kim reviewed:
Finding Freedom

The book Finding Freedom started off very much like Life Without Parole with the adjustment to the life in prison. The book Finding Freedom didnt go into much detail about prison rape as Hassin's book did. Finding Freedom was a lot on Jarvis's path to finding budhism and accepting his fate on death row. It also had a lot to do with his adventures in saving other inmate's lives and the failed attempts to save other lives. In my opinion this is a definite must read for people intrested in inmate stories.

kevin -- what does this book tell us about correctional "theory, policy and practice?" why.

On Friday, Decemer 2, 2005, Chrissy Thomsen reviewed:
Shakespeare Behind Bars

Jean Trounstine, a former drama and english teacher at Framingham Women's Prison in Massachusetts, gives a first-person account of her ten years at the prison as a teacher and director. Six women are featured. She explains their emotions, experiences, and how much they benefit from the acting and from the friendships gained. In theory, prisons are supposed to correct the offenders, but so often this isn't the case, because the policies and programs aren't there to put into practice in an effective way, but this program really seemed to help. During their class time, these women can show emotion and get a glimpse of who they want to be. While acting in these plays, they feel like they're finally a part of something bigger than themselves, they feel the warmth and fulfillment of freedom. This book can be directly related to the documentary "Voices from Within." Although the women in the documentary performed their own play(or so it seemed)and in the book various Shakespearean plays were performed, the experiences were similar. It was great to read this book in that I could feel how they felt-I felt free and hopeful for them when they were performing. I felt sadness and emptiness when they relayed stories of their children and lives on the outside. Very well-written and worth reading if you're interested in the topic!

chrissy -- unfortunately, we don't have time to dialogue on how this relates to the course materials?

On Monday, December 5, 2005, LIsa Olsen reviewed:
Alcatraz Screw: My Years as a Guard in America's Most Notorious Prison [late]

Alcatraz Screw: My Years as a Guard in America's Most Notorious Prison by George Gregory

This book was written by a man that was a correctional officer from 1947 to 1963 at Alcatraz. The guards at this prison were called screws because that was the locking system for Alcatraz, you would insert a big, long key into the lock of a cell door and screw it until the door was secured. the author described his experiences inside the prison, talking to some of the more famous inmates, "Machine Gun" Kelly and the "birdman of Alcatraz". He said that there really wasnt any training, and they just put him to work by himself on his first day. The author had previously worked at two other prisons, Sandstone and Leavenworth, and said that this prison was very differently ran and set up. I thought this was a very good book, and would recommend it to the class. It was related to our Corrections class, becuase we learned a lot about gurad inmate relationships. The author talked about this and his incounters with the inmates.

lisa -- it's late. but thank you.

On Monday, December 5, 2005, Lisa Olsen reviewed:
The Funhouse Mirror: Reflections on Prison [late]

The Funhouse Mirror: Reflections on Prison by Robert Ellis Gordon and inmates

This book had different chapters on different views in prison. The author is a creative writing teacher for the prison system in Washington. The chapters were all written by different inmates from his writing classes. The book had six main chapters. Before they essay or writing part that the inmates completed, they gave a brief history of themselves and the crimes that they had committed. Most of the stories are about different ways they have survived the prison, and their advise on who to watch out for. The last chapter was written by Robert Gordon, and it is how the prison's librarian got involed with an inmate, something that is very common. I found this book to be interesting and would recommond it to our class.

lisa -- it's late. but thank you.

On Tuesday, December 13, 2005, Christina Troyanek reviewed:
Beyond Discipline [late]

I have been concerned with educating and disciplining our society at a young age. I feel we should all be concerned with our younger generation and teach them in a healthy manner, which will better prepare them as adults in society. In Alfie Kohn^“s book, Beyond Discipline, he demonstrates how we should expose children in a way to extend their thinking and curiosity, which enables them to be more interested. If we consider their questions and what is important to them we will see more positive results in learning and behavior. As for punishment, Kohn believes one only becomes angrier, and the greater need to keep punishing that person. The book is an insightful approach to teaching and offers a wide understanding of our youth. It may be disturbing to traditional teaching approaches that are based off reward and punishment. Kohn offers a great guide for teaching, that is, for the open- minded reader.

christina -- it's late. but thank you.

From CRMJ/SOCA 365: Race, Crime, Law

On Tuesday, November 15, 2005, Stefnee Goines reviewed:
Driving While Black

Driving While Black, by Kenneth Meeks. This book is about racial profiling and tips on dealing with profiling such as stay calm, carry identification at all times, take names, never run, never go to the same precinct that violated your rights to fill out a complaint form, as well as recourse for readers who suspect their civil rights have been denied due to racial profiling. It examines racial profiling when law enforcement officials stop people based on profiles of class, age, race, or dress (CARD). This book deals with the origins, practices, consequences, and solutions to the problem of racial profiling. There are stories about racial profiling on highways, at shopping malls, waiting for taxi cabs, and on sidewalks. Driving While Black is not just for people of color, but for anyone who likes to wear a baseball cap, baggy jeans, sneakers, and a tee shirt and finds they are treated like a "suspect.

stefnee -- can you relate this book to the readings in this course?

On Saturday, December 17, 2005, Shantel Belot reviewed:
Driving While Black [late]

I read the book Driving While Black for one of my creative measures. Basically what the book was about was how blacks are targeted while driving. They mentioned and gave examples of how officers look for blacks driving and pull them over to mess with them. The officers are not very nice to them when they pull them over. They violate there rights. They tell them they have drugs in there and they should just give them up even though half of them don't. This book made me really think about how society is today and how our officers treat blacks. Just because they see a black driving they assume they have drugs or have something bad on them. If they see a white driving they don't think twice.

shantel -- thank you.

On Monday, December 5, 2005, Lisa Olsen reviewed:
We Were There [late]

We Were There: Voices of African American Veterns by: Yvonne Latty

I thought this book was very interesting. It profiled 28 African American military people. African Americans have an ongoing presence in American military, but usually go unrecognized. Many of the older veterans talked about how the military was seperated and that African American people used to have thier own units and platoons. Many African Americans believed that if they were white they would have recieved more gratitude and in some cases, ribbons and metals that they rightfully earned. But since they were African Americans, they were not honored properly. This book showed the experiences that many of these men and women faced while trying to serve for our country.

lisa -- better late than never.

On Monday, December 5, 2005, Lisa Olsen reviewed:
Voices of the Wisconsin Past: Remembering the Holocaust [late]

Voices of the Wisconsin Past: Remembering the Holocaust by Michael Stevens

This book gave information on some of the different countires affected by the Holocaust, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands,Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, Greece and Hungary. Inside each chapter were about four interviews of Holocaust survivors from those countires. It was interesting to hear how themselves and thier families protected each other. Some of the people told thier stories on how they survived concentration camps and how they went into hiding. Some of the stories were really sad becuase after they were transported to the concentration camps, they never saw thier families or loved ones again. All the people that were interviewed in this book migrated to the United States and later resided in Wisconsin. This book related to our class Race, Crime, and Law becuase the Jews were discrimated against because who they were. They were born and raised Jewish, and simply because of it discrimated against.

lisa -- again, better late than never.

On xxx, September xx, 2005, ______ reviewed:
book title

review goes here

student's name -- my response.