The Champion, Contender, and Challenger: Top-Ranked Books in Prison Studies

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22 Scopus citations


This article seeks to identify the three most influential books in prison studies published throughout the 20th century. A diverse panel of 20 prison researchers has carried out book selections and deems Gresham Sykes's (1958) masterful work, The Society of Captives, the “champion.” The article reviews each selection, discusses each book's influence on past and contemporary prison research, and identifies salient conceptual and empirical limitations. The article concludes with a call for more frequent scholarly journal exchanges between prison scholars who subscribe to competing conceptual frameworks and highlights some promising trends in prison research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-407
Number of pages19
JournalThe Prison Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Law


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