While I hope to do many things in this book, there are some things I avoid. Unlike many who have written about American corrections, I do not issue a ringing indictment of or call for the immediate abolition of the system. I do not disparage the field of corrections or the dedicated and talented people who do its work. I do not discuss the many debates surrounding the supposedly conflicting goals of using “sanctions” (better known as punishment) versus rehabilitation.


I see punishment and rehabilitation, if they are different things at all, as differing approaches to social control, not conflicting philosophies. You will not find here a sermon on the history, research, or necessity of using “What Works” or “Evidence-Based” practices in corrections and crime control. There is also very little discussion of a distinct “inmate culture” in prisons and jails because, as I define culture, there is no such thing. All of these issues have been addressed numerous times by other writers, many of them better equipped and more able than I.


The simple reason for avoiding these topics is that there is no evidence that a choice between one solution and any of the others is really possible or what the American people want. What this book does do is provide a framework for understanding how cultures work in organizations, especially corrections, and propose a guide to generating fundamental changes in them.