Skip to content

Stateville The Penitentiary in Mass Society

Spend $50 to get a free DVD!

ISBN-10: 0226389774

ISBN-13: 9780226389776

Edition: Reprint 

Authors: James B. Jacobs, Morris Janowitz

List price: $34.00
Shipping box This item qualifies for FREE shipping.
Blue ribbon 30 day, 100% satisfaction guarantee!
Buy eBooks
what's this?
Rush Rewards U
Members Receive:
Carrot Coin icon
XP icon
You have reached 400 XP and carrot coins. That is the daily max!


Stateville penitentiary in Illinois has housed some of Chicago's most infamous criminals and was proclaimed to be "the world's toughest prison" by Joseph Ragen, Stateville's powerful warden from 1936 to 1961. It shares with Attica, San Quentin, and Jackson the notoriety of being one of the maximum security prisons that has shaped the public's conception of imprisonment. In Stateville James B. Jacobs, a sociologist and legal scholar, presents the first historical examination of a total prison organization--administrators, guards, prisoners, and special interest groups. Jacobs applies Edward Shils's interpretation of the dynamics of mass society in order to explain the dramatic events of the past quarter century that have permanently altered Stateville's structure. With the extension of civil rights to previously marginal groups such as racial minorities, the poor, and, ultimately, the incarcerated, prisons have moved from society's periphery toward its center. Accordingly Stateville's control mechanisms became less authoritarian and more legalistic and bureaucratic. As prisoners' rights increased, the preogatives of the staff were sharply curtailed. By the early 1970s the administration proved incapable of dealing with politicized gangs, proliferating interest groups, unionized guards, and interventionist courts. In addition to extensive archival research, Jacobs spent many months freely interacting with the prisoners, guards, and administrators at Stateville. His lucid presentation of Stateville's troubled history will provide fascinating reading for a wide audience of concerned readers. ". . . [an] impressive study of a complex social system."--Isidore Silver, Library Journal
Customers also bought

Book details

List price: $34.00
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 9/15/1978
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 310
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.50" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.968
Language: English

James B. Jacobs is Chief Justice Warren E. Burger Professor of Constitutional Law and the Courts, and Director of the Center for Research in Crime and Justice, at New York University School of Law.

Morris Janowitz was an American sociologist educated at the University of Chicago. As a student of many Chicago School theorists, he was most interested in the process of communication and its role in establishing a sense of community. Prejudice was another lifelong interest. During World War II, Janowitz worked as a propaganda analyst for the U.S. Department of Justice. He is best known for The Community Press in An Urban Setting (1980), his early study of the role of newspapers in establishing a sense of community. This work combined his interest in the press as an agent of solidarity with his concern about the perpetuation of prejudice.

The Authoritarian Regime
The Search for a Stable Equilibrium, 1925-36
Emergence of Personal Dominance, 1936-61
Challenge to Institutional Authority, 1961-70
The Search for a New Equilibrium
Emergence of a Professional Administration, 1970-75
Intrusion of the Legal System and Interest Groups
Penetration of the Gangs
Transition of the Guard Force
Overview: Restoration and Beyond
Participant Observation among Prisoners