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Book details
  • SubGenre:Criminology
  • Language:English
  • Pages:250
  • eBook ISBN:9781483532622

Close Control: Managing a Maximum Security Prison

The Story of Ragen's Stateville Penitentiary

by Nathan Kantrowitz

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This has to be the most interesting and provocative book on prisons for many a decade. Not only is it a fascinating account of why firm prison control is needed, and how it works, but it is a history, of sorts, of how Warden Ragen controlled the Stateville-Joliet prison back in the 1960's. In fact, the original manuscript of this book was written by Kantrowitz when he was the resident sociologist in that prison. But he could never get it published because it was, for that time (the era of "treatment and corrections") politically incorrect to advocate firm discipline and control in a prison. Some of the leading university presses, advised by liberal academics, rejected the manuscript. Kantrowitz has now revised the book to bring it into line with the latest writings on "corrections" - though the history and analysis itself is largely as it was written 30 years ago.
Topics include: Chicago's Criminals, Politicians, and Joseph Ragen's Career; Controlling Time and Space in a Prison; Stateville's Daily Schedule In Detail; Control of the Guards; Control of Inmates; Beatings and Violence; The Inmate Economy. and much more.
About the author
"Nathan Kantrowitz, a demographer, photographer, author and sociologist whose views often ran counter to prevailing theories, died Aug. 27 of heart failure. He was 84. An Edgewater neighborhood resident, Mr. Kantrowitz was author of Close Control: Managing a Maximum Security Prison ­ — The Story of Ragen’s Stateville Penitentiary in 1996 and Ethnic and Racial Segregation in the New York Metropolis: Residential Patterns Among White Ethnic Groups, Blacks and Puerto Ricans in 1983. He also wrote numerous articles for scholarly journals. At the time of his death, Mr. Kantrowitz also had been working for many years on a biography of Jake “the Barber” Factor, a Prohibition-era gangster who later became a prominent Las Vegas casino proprietor and who was half-brother of Max Factor Sr., the founder of the Max Factor cosmetics firm. Mr. Kantrowitz’s wife, Joanne Kantrowitz, is working with Southern Illinois University Press to complete the final edits on the book. Close Control both argued that firm prison control is needed and told the story of Warden Joseph Ragen, who ran the Stateville prison in Joliet from 1936 to 1961. The original manuscript of the book was written by Kantrowitz when he was the resident sociologist in that prison. But Joanne Kantrowitz said he could not get it published for years because its focus on firm discipline did not conform with the dominant “treatment and corrections” concept of the time. Also, Mr. Kantrowitz was known nationally for arguing in favor of a focus on racially integrated housing at a time when others were placing a priority on school busing, Joanne Kantrowitz said. Mr. Kantrowitz was born in New York City in 1927 and served with the U.S. Army Occupation Forces in Japan after World War II. He was attached to the Army photography unit, and 140 of his photographs and negatives now reside at the Mudd Manuscript Library at Princeton University, Princeton N.J. After his discharge, he earned a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Chicago and was resident sociologist at the Stateville penitentiary in the 1960s..." From the Chicago Sun-Times 9/2/2012