The Big House" is Americas idea of the prisona huge, tough, ostentatiously oppressive pile of rock, bristling with rules and punishments, overwhelming in size and the intent to intimidate. Stephen Cox tells the story of the American prisonits politics, its sex, its violence, its inability to control itselfand its idealization in American popular culture.This book investigates both the popular images of prison and the realities behind them: problems of control and discipline, maintenance and reform, power and sexuality. It conveys an awareness of the limits of human and institutional power, and of the symbolic and iconic qualities the Big House has attained in Americas understanding of itself.

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