Cover image for Prison masculinities
Prison masculinities
Sabo, Donald F.
Publication Information:
Philadelphia, PA : Temple University Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
x, 279 pages ; 27 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV6089 .P74 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



This book explores the frightening ways in which our prisons mirror the worst aspects of society-wide gender relations. It is part of the growing research on men and masculinities. The collection is unusual in that it contributions from activists, academics, and prisoners.

The opening section, which features an essay by Angela Davis, focuses on the historical roots of the prison system, cultural practices surrounding gender and punishment, and the current expansion of corrections into the "prison-industrial complex."

The next section examines the dominant or subservient roles that men play in prison and the connections between this hierarchy and male violence. Another section looks at the spectrum of intimate relations behind bars, from rape to friendship, and another at physical and mental health.

The last section is about efforts to reform prisons and prison masculinities, including support groups for men. It features an essay about prospects for post-release success in the community written by a man who, after doing time in Soledad and San Quentin, went on to get a doctorate in counseling.

The contributions from prisoners include an essay on enforced celibacy by Mumia Abu-Jamal, as well as fiction and poetry on prison health policy, violence, and intimacy. The creative contributions were selected from the more than 200 submissions received from prisoners.

Author Notes

Don Sabo, Professor of Social Sciences at D'Youville College in Buffalo, is author or editor of five books, most recently, with David Gordon, Men's Health and Illness: Gender, Power, and the Body and, with Michael Messner, Sex, Violence, and Power in Sports: Rethinking Masculinity . Sabo has appeared on The Today Show, Oprah, and Donahue .

Terry A. Kupers, M.D., a psychiatrist, teaches at the Wright Institute in Berkeley. He is the author of four books, editor of a fifth. His latest books are Prison Madness: The Mental Health Crisis Behind Bars and What We Must Do About It and Revisioning Men's Lives: Gender, Intimacy, and Power . Kupers has served as an expert witness in more than a dozen cases on conditions of confinement and mental health services.

Willie London, a published poet, is General Editor of the prison publication Elite Expressions . He is currently an inmate at Eastern Corrections. For nine years he was a prisoner at Attica.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Sabo (sociology, D'Youville Coll.), Terry Kupers (psychiatry, Wright Inst.), and poet, essayist, and prisoner Willie London (Eastern Corrections) have edited this well-structured compendium of often disturbing analyses, overviews, and personal expressions of the role gender and race dynamics play in the politics, economy, and hierarchical culture of American prisons. "Tough" male inmatesDemotionally and physically dominant, ruthlessly competitive, and violentDrule less-dominant prison inhabitants, displaying exaggerated characteristics of the hegemonic masculinity evident in various degrees elsewhere in America. Correlations are made between a rising young, black prison population; mandatory and determinant sentencing laws; and the abandonment of educational and rehabilitation programs for harsh and punitive "intimidate and control" policies. The authors instead strongly recommend, among other things, emphasizing mentoring and educating juveniles at risk, revising treatment plans for nonviolent criminals and drug law offenders, and encouraging meaningful vocational preparedness. Highly recommended for professionals, academics, and the general public.DSuzanne W. Wood, SUNY Coll. of Technology, Alfred (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.