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Prison Reform

A Guide to Finding Government Information

Web version of this guide includes links to web resources.

Search Tips:

Mix and match these terms in searching the library catalog, WestCat , or use them to search journal articles and law reviews via the library's Databases page. You can also use them to search government information sites listed on our Starting Points page - click the tab and pay particular attention to the Top Six.

  • prison reform
  • alternatives to prisons
  • imprisonment
  • incarceration
  • recidivism
  • penology
  • administration of justice
  • sentencing reform
  • nonviolent offenders
  • rehabilitation
  • restorative justice
  • criminal psychology
  • prisons privatization
  • prison discipline
  • solitary confinement
  • prison gangs
  • corrections
  • drug courts

Related Topics:
  • cruel and unusual punishment
  • capital punishment
  • while collar crime

An important source for many research topics is Congress. Congressional committees and subcommittees hold hearings on a wide variety of controversial and timely subjects. Simply add the word "hearing?" to a search string in WestCat .

Search Engines

Google and StartPage
Use these search engines to search for government information by typing "site:gov" in the search box preceding your search terms:

  • site:gov "prison reform"
Law Review Articles

Law reviews are an important resource for legal topics like this one. They can lead you to laws and cases as well as discuss legal theory. A few law journals are indexed in multidisciplinary databases, but the best bang for your buck will be to search LexisNexis Academic for full-text access to many hundreds of law reviews.

Federal Government Information
Keeping Youth Safe While in Custody: Sexual Assault in Adult and Juvenile Facilities

This hearing focuses on the Prison Rape Elimination Act and the effect its implementation would have on victims of prison rape, including juveniles. 2010
Y 4.J 89/1:111-100

Creating a Workforce Development Culture to Reduce Reincarceration

This NIC publication discusses the positive results of a prison program (based on the Habits of Mind and instituted in Vermont) on recidivism for those participating in the program. 2009

Inmate Behavior Management: The Key to a Safe and Secure Jail

This paper, written for corrections administrators, describes a six-point system for successfully managing prisoners in order to maximize safety of inmates and staff. 2009
J 16.102: IN 6

Direct Supervision Jails: The Role of the Administrator

This guide outlines the effective administration of direct supervision jails, which allow inmate interaction for inmates that will follow rules. 2010

Oversight of State-Run Juvenile Correctional Facilities Known as Boot Camps

After several juveniles were killed or allowed to die by staff at state-run boot camps, Congress holds a hearing on their effectiveness at reducing recidivism. 2008
Y 4.J 89/1:110-127

Drug and Veterans’ Treatment Courts: Seeking Cost-Effective Solutions for Protecting Public Safety and Reducing Recidivism

This hearing describes the benefits of drug and veterans' treatment courts and recommends an expansion of the program. 2011
Y 4.J 89/2:S.HRG.112-179

Electronic Monitoring Reduces Recidivism

This short report describes the effectiveness of electronic monitoring as well as its pros and cons. 2011

Adult Probationers/Parolees with Mental Illness in the Criminal Justice System

Cursory statistics of adult offenders in federal corrections in D.C.

Alternatives to Incarceration: A Smart Approach to Breaking the Cycle of Drug Use and Crime

This short report describes the benefits of Drug courts in terms of effectiveness and cost. 2011

Illinois Government Information
Research Briefing: Illinois Felony Sentencing, A Retrospective

This report describes the changing (growing) prison population over the last 30 years in Illinois and the underlying reasons for its change. 2011

Community Reentry After Prison Drug Treatment: Learning From Sheridan Therapeutic Community Program Participants

This report details findings from a study on a prison drug treatment program, including time to relapse and recidivism rates by various factors.

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