The United States has the lighest incarceration rate in the world and crime is one of the major driving forces of political discourse throughout the country. Information about penal institutions, imprisonment, and prisoners is important to everyone, rom judges on the bench to citizens on the street. Now for the first time, a comprehensive reference work presents a full overview of incarceration in America. The Encyclopedia features original essays by leading U.S. corrections experts, who offer historical perspectives, insights into how and why the present prison system developed, where we are today, and where we are likely to be in the future. Every important aspect of American prisons is covered, from the handling of convicts with AIDS to juvenile delinquents behind bars, from boot camps to life without parole, from racial conflict to sexual exploitation.