Johnston Publishes Inside Look at Prison Life

By Purnell T. Cropper | January 12, 2010

Dr. Norman Johnston, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, published his latest book, “INSIDE: Prison and Prison Life.” Johnston’s book is available at the Eastern State Penitentiary gift shop, where Johnston has four other books on sale.

An expert on the subject of prison architecture, Johnston explores answers to important questions: “What was life like for the Marquis de Sade in the Bastille? When was there a bar selling liquor and beer behind prison bars in Philadelphia? In modern times are there gangs in prisons? What sort of work do prisoners do (the chances of making license plates are slim)? How dangerous is life inside a prison? Should the inmates then carry a weapon or not? Do prisoners get lonely and miss emotional intimacy? If so, what do they do about it and might that include sex? There is no question that most inmates would rather be someplace other than prison, so how do some try to escape? If they cause enough trouble for the prison, they probably will be sent to a supermax institution. What is that like?”

A section at the end of the book also provides information about costs—“how much to build a prison and how much to keep an inmate a year as well as how many Americans are locked up after sentencing compared to other countries. There is also a directory of prison museums in this country, Europe and Latin America.”