The eight chapters begin with quotes from important historical figures. The first chapter, covering the history of U.S. imprisonment, begins with a quotation from Dorothea Dix from 1845, in which she advocates for familiar themes such as better food, clean air, and humane treatment and conditions. The chapter is thought provoking and provides a solid factual foundation for the rest of the book. By reviewing prison origins in colonial times and then addressing prison issues in the context of the Civil War era’s Southern politics and slavery, this volume pulls readers into the incredibly complex issues of race and culture as they pertained to the prison movement. The notion that prisoners were an integral part of economic growth, by providing inexpensive labor, helps one realize the magnitude of the potential financial and political pressures to extend prison services. Later, as wars came and went, jails and prisons were a way to manage individuals detained during wartime; there were no better alternatives. Unfortunately, in these early times, conditions were far from standardized, and health and sanitation challenges abounded. Nonetheless, the prison environment and various prisons became show pieces for demonstrating American accomplishments to visiting dignitaries.