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Convict CriminologyInside and Out$
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Rod Earle

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781447323648

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447323648.001.0001

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US convict criminology comes of age

US convict criminology comes of age

(p.37) Three US convict criminology comes of age
Convict Criminology

Rod Earle

Policy Press

This chapter sets out the emergence of convict criminology in the USA through a discussion of the life and work of John Irwin. It traces Irwin’s progression from prisoner to professor via Soledad Prison and the University of California, Los Angeles. His subsequent academic work on prisons, with prisoners and contributions to prison reform provide the archetype for convict criminology. Irwin’s trajectory after completing his five-year sentence for robbing a petrol station as a teenager is compared to that of black power activist George Jackson’s for a similar youthful offence. Jackson was controversially killed in prison in 1971. The central position of race in the USA’s penal politics is emphasised through this and the ensuing discussion of the US convict criminology group. The published work of members of this group are critically discussed, as are their wider contributions to criminology in the USA.

Keywords:   John Irwin, Soledad Prison, George Jackson, race, convict criminology

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