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Good Punishment?: Christian Moral Practice and U.S. Imprisonment [Paperback]

By James Samuel Logan (Author)
Our Price $ 19.36  
Retail Value $ 22.00  
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Item Number 64934  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   261
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.97" Width: 6.07" Height: 0.7"
Weight:   0.8 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 2, 2008
ISBN  0802863248  
EAN  9780802863249  

Availability  1 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 22, 2016 05:15.
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Item Description...
Today, the number of persons incarcerated in American prisons is the highest per capita in U.S. history. At what social cost do we build and fill more prisons? James Samuel Logan here inquires into the basic reasons for the increase in the number of U. S. residents being imprisoned. He examines the historical nature of incarceration, debunking the myth that the social function of the prison was ever actually serious social reform. Logan exercises his unique connection to many of the social consequences of imprisonment, making reference to his own friends and family - experiences that are representative of the devastation caused by prisons. Logan's biggest concern is the lack of systematic and constructive critical investigation on the parts of Christian theologians and ethicists with regard to the social costs of imprisonment on such a large scale. Good Punishment brings together an examination of salient empirical data and social theory related to the contemporary U. S. practice of imprisonment with a constructive theological ethics of Christian praxis. Throughout, Logan draws heavily from the philosophies of Stanley Hauerwas, informing this investigation and proposal for reform.

Publishers Description
More than 2 million persons occupy America's prisons and jails today ? the highest per capita incarceration rate in U.S. history. With just 6 percent of the world's population, the United States now holds 25 percent of its prisoners. At what social cost do we build and fill more prisons?

In Good Punishment? James Samuel Logan critiques the American obsession with imprisonment as punishment, calling it "retributive degradation" of the incarcerated. His analysis draws on both salient empirical data and material from a variety of disciplines ? social history, anthropology, law and penal theory, philosophy of religion ? as he uncovers the devastating social consequences (both direct and collateral) of imprisonment on such a large, unprecedented scale.

A distinctive contribution of this book lies in its development of a Christian social ethics of "good punishment" embodied as a politics of "healing memories" and "ontological intimacy." Logan earnestly explores how Christians can best engage with the real-life issues and concerns surrounding the American practice of imprisonment.

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General   [31520  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > Ethics   [884  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
A powerful indictment of criminal "justice" in the US  Jan 28, 2009
This is an important and timely book. Logan, a Mennonite who teaches at a Quaker school (Earlham College in Indiana) has provided a clear and devastating critique of the American criminal (in)justice system. In careful, even understated prose, he details layer upon layer of social devastation-to the convicts who are treated like pieces of trash, to the victims of crime who are shunted aside by the system, and to the broader society that finds more and more resources being poured into a more and more ineffective (even counter-productive) prison-industrial complex. A strong sense of humanity, grounded in his Christian faith, underlies Logan's analysis.

By far the strongest part of the book is the first half, where Logan lays out the problems. He is quite persuasive in helping us see the social consequences of our society's linking the violence of retributive philosophies and practices that takes already damaged people (convicted criminals) and damages them even further through dehumanizing punitive practices together with a powerful trend toward privatizing prisons and making them serve corporations' lust for profits.

Logan writes this book as a theologian. He seeks to develop a case for what he calls "good punishment" where violations are taken seriously but become an occasion for seeking to heal the damage done rather than an occasion to unleash the forces of vengeance and (now) capitalist extraction of profits from human misery. He draws especially on the work of the pacifist Methodist theological ethicist Stanley Hauerwas in this constructive effort.

I greatly appreciate Logan's attempt to respond to this terrible crisis theologically. Indeed, the churches and the larger society are in dire need of such responses. The Dutch law professor, Herman Bianchi, makes the evocative statement that since the western theological tradition has so much responsibility for the crises we find ourselves in, one important step in a positive direction would be to apply some "homeopathic" therapy where we draw on this same tradition for resources that might heal the damage it has done. Logan's work is an important effort at such homeopathic therapy.

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