Women's Prisons: The More Things Change, the More They Remain the Same

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Book Review

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Review of the book Hard time at Tehachapi: California's first women's prison by Kathleen A. Cairns (see record 2009-04233-000). This book chronicles the rise and fall of California's first prison for women. Tehachapi was operational from 1933 to 1952, yet this book could probably represent almost any similar time span in American penology. It is a detailed look at how prisons are intertwined with public sentiment and corresponding political shifts. This book is an engaging read for those interested in forensic psychology and particularly correctional psychology. The focus of the book is on the politics and history of the prison, not on the women themselves. The personalities and motivations of the women who fought to open Tehachapi and the women who eventually became wardens are described more fully than are the inmates. This is not a book about women prisoners, although certainly they are mentioned, but rather about the struggles surrounding women's prisons. (PsyciNFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved).