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Prisons & Punishment

Prisons & Punishment
The Essentials

Second Edition
Additional resources:

April 2014 | 304 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Covering all the key topics across the subject of Penology, this book gives you the tools you need to delve deeper and critically examine issues relating to prisons and punishment.

The second edition:

  • explores prisons and punishment within national, international and comparative contexts, and draws upon contemporary case studies throughout to illustrate key themes and issues
  • includes new sections on actuarial justice, proportionality, sentencing principles, persistent offending, rehabilitation, and abolitionist approaches to punishment
  • features a companion website directing you towards relevant journal articles and web links. 

The book also includes a useful study skills section which guides you through essay writing and offers hints and tips on how you can get the most out of your lectures and seminars.

This is the perfect primer for all undergraduate students of Criminology taking modules on Prisons and Punishment or Penology.

Thinking Like a Penologist
Sources of Penal Knowledge
Justifications of Punishment
Theorising about Prisons and Punishment
Comparative Penologies
A History of Imprisonment in the UK: until 1997
Penal Policy: until 2013
Penal Administration and Prisoner Populations
Sociologies of Prison Life
Penal Accountability
Probation and Community Penalties
Future Directions and Alternative Visions
How to Get the Most out of Your Lectures and Seminars
Writing a Dissertation
Essay Writing Hints
Revision Hints
Exam Hints


Click for online resources

Free resources on the companion website:

  • Links to free SAGE journal articles
  • Links to suggested website and blogs
  • Glossary flashcards 

The new edition of this popular undergraduate text will be widely welcomed. Clearly written and challenging, it addresses issues from the justifications for punishment to the ownership and operation of penal systems, especially prisons. It is an ideal introduction for those coming into the relatively new and contested discipline of criminology.

Professor Mick Ryan
University of Greenwich, London

Penology is concerned with the study and evaluation of penal sanctions inflicted on wrongdoers. Contrary to the humble subtitle chosen by David Scott and Nick Flynn, their extremely useful book offers far more than the ‘essentials’ on prisons and punishment.

Professor Vincenzo Ruggiero
Middlesex University

This is a welcome second edition to the previously titled Penology. With all chapters fully revised and updated, and the addition of extensive recommended readings, this book provides an informative, accessible and stimulating introduction for students on prisons and punishment courses.

Alana Barton
Edge Hill University

This book provides a highly effective introduction to academic studies about prisons. I will be using it as a course text book on a first year module aptly named 'Prison and Punishment'.

Mr Louis Martin
School of Law, Staffordshire University
December 13, 2016

Very good understanding of prisons and punishment.

Miss Maria Adams
Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences, Surrey University
October 10, 2016

This is an excellent textbook to introduce the topic of penology, prisons, and punishment that I will be recommending to my students on the Foundation Degree and the BA in Criminal Justice and Offender Management. at Derby College.

The authors engage the reader with the critical and contemporary issues with prisons and offender management.

Mr Mark Jagus
Interdiscipline , Derby College
August 17, 2016

This book will form part of the recommended readings for both the penology module and the criminal justice process module at the University Centre, Grimsby. It provides some good information about the penal system and is of use for anyone wanting to learn about prisons and punishment, or wanting to work in that sector.

Mr Darren Woodward
Social Science , Grimsby Institute of HE & FE
July 7, 2016

Great text, I will add it to my recommended list for students and university library

Dr Stephanie Kewley
School of Social Sciences , Birmingham City University
May 29, 2015

An excellent introduction to penology for students on undergraduate and postgraduate criminology and criminal justice degree programmes. Great starting point for anyone interested in the central themes of the book. Clear and concise yet does not lack critical insight.

Dr Lyndsey Harris
School of Sociology and Social Policy, Nottingham University
March 3, 2015

The content was misjudged by myself but it has become a valuable textbook for a colleague who does the Penology module

Mr Richard Turner
Criminal Justice, Doncaster University Centre
February 13, 2015
  • Sections on actuarial approaches, proportionality, sentencing policy and principles, persistent offending, rehabilitation, mental health, drugs in prison and young offenders
  • Annotated reading lists at the close of each chapter
  • companion website with links to extra reading (including SAGE journal articles, weblinks, government reports, blogs) and lecturers' notes
  • A new chapter within Part 1 that covers 'sources of Penal knowledge'

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter Two: Theorising about Prisons and Punishment

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For instructors

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ISBN: 9781446273470

ISBN: 9781446273463