The first several books to highlight are part of the Clarendon Studies in Criminology, a series I particularly like. These include:
Harry Annison's Dangerous Politics: Risk, Political Vulnerability, and Penal Policy, which centers around the rise and fall of "Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) sentence," a form of indeterminate sentencing in the UK. From the description:
This book argues that the IPP story demonstrates the need to be cautious of equating substance with process - while on one view the IPP sentence constitutes a penal manifestation of the risk society, its development refutes the 'evolutionary growth' of such policies as implied by the 'new penology' thesis.
Emma Kaufman's Punish and Expel: Border Control, Nationalism, and the New Purpose of the Prison, examines immigration detention in the UK:
Today, prison officers refer anyone suspected of being foreign to immigration authorities and prisoners facing deportation are detained in special prisons devoted to confining non-citizens. Those who cannot be deported linger, sometimes for years, indefinitely detained behind prison walls. The British approach to foreign nationals reflects a broader trend in punishment. Over the past decade, penal institutions across England, the United States, and Western Europe have become key sites for border control. ... Punish and Expel links prisons to the history of British colonialism and the contemporary politics of race, whilst challenging the reader to rethink their approach to prisons, and to the people held inside them.
Ian O'Donnell's Prisoners, Solitude, and Time, examines solitary confinement and especially "the roles of silence and separation in penal policy"; specifically, it "assesses both the degree to which prisoners can withstand the rigours of solitude and how they experience the passing of time." From the description:
Through a re-examination of the roles of silence and separation in penal policy, and by contrasting the prisoner experience with that of individuals who have sought out institutional solitariness (for example as members of certain religious orders), and others who have found themselves held in solitary confinement although they committed no crime (such as hostages and some political prisoners), Prisoners, Solitude, and Time seeks to assess the impact of long-term isolation and the rationality of such treatment.
In addition to Clarendon series books, we have several additional wonderful contributions to several literatures, including:
Mary D. Looman and John D. Carl's A Country Called Prison: Mass Incarceration and the Making of a New Nation, which uses a fascinating framework in which they consider "how prison became a country." For example, " If those currently incarcerated in the US prison system were a country, it would be the 102nd most populated nation in the world." From the description,
Looman and Carl form a foundation of understanding to demonstrate that prison is more than an institution built of fences and policies - it is a culture. Prison continues well after incarceration, as ex-felons leave correctional facilities (and often return to impoverished neighborhoods) without money or legal identification of American citizenship.
Jack Glaser's Suspect Race: Causes and Consequences of Racial Profiling, examines the causes of racial profiling. From the description:
In Suspect Race, social psychologist and public policy expert Jack Glaser leverages a century's worth of social psychological research to provide a clear understanding of how stereotypes, even those operating outside of conscious awareness or control, can cause police to make discriminatory judgments and decisions about who to suspect, stop, question, search, use force on, and arrest.
Andrew Dilts's Punishment and Inclusion: Race, Membership, and the Limits of American Liberalism, examines the historical background to felon disenfranchisement and its relationship to mass incarceration. From the description:
It demonstrates that the history of felon disenfranchisement, rooted in postslavery restrictions on suffrage and the contemporaneous emergence of the modern "American" penal system, reveals the deep connections between two political institutions often thought to be separate, showing the work of membership done by the criminal punishment system and the work of punishment done by the electoral franchise.
Martin Innes's Signal Crimes: Reactions to Crime and Social Control, "presents the results from a series of inter-linked empirical studies that have resulted in the concept of a 'signal crime': an incident that changes how people think, feel and behave about their safety due to their actions operating as signals to the presence of wider risks and threats." From the description:
Signal Crimes explores how the fear of crime 'travels' in the aftermath of criminal homicide incidents, and why some homicides impact more significantly upon local communities than others.
David Skarbek's The Social Order of the Underworld: How Prison Gangs Govern the American Penal System, "[o]ffers the controversial theory that gangs form to promote order among inmates. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, they are not formed primarily to enhance their ability to engage in violence or to promote racist beliefs. Gangs are quasi-governments that make inmates better off." From the description:
He uses economics to explore the secret world of the convict culture, inmate hierarchy, and prison gang politics, and to explain why prison gangs form, how formal institutions affect them, and why they have a powerful influence over crime even beyond prison wallsFinally, we have two edited volumes.
Popular Punishment: On the Normative Significance of Public Opinion, edited by Jesper Ryberg and Julian V. Roberts, examines "what role public opinion should play in the way criminal offenders are punished." From the description:
The chapters address the myriad complexities surrounding this issue by first weighing the justifications for incorporating public views into punishment practices and then considering the various ways this might be achieved through juries, prosecutors, restorative justice programs, and other means.
This resulting volume aims to: advance conceptual understanding of legitimacy in the contexts of policing and criminal justice; to develop a better understanding of the implications of analyses of legitimacy for the practical contexts of policing, prisons and criminal justice; and to recognise the growing number of contexts in which criminal justice personnel encounter ethnically and religiously diverse communities, such as the acute dilemmas for legitimate authority posed by perceived terrorist threats. Attention is also devoted to the growing importance of international organisations in relation to legitimacy, both in its international and domestic manifestations.