The book I selected for my Meaningful Read is The Crime of Punishment by Karl Menninger. I picked up this paperback book for $1.95 (new!) several decades ago when I was a college student and considering what shape my career path would take. I experienced the book as a fascinating and eye-opening leap into the world of prisons, psychiatry (Dr. Menninger was a psychiatrist), and the personal stories and treatment (often horrifying!) of individuals caught up in U.S. criminal justice systems. The book was pivotal in waking in me a passion for what later became my chosen profession of social work in the spaces where social work and criminal justice overlap. Sometimes early in our career development we read a book that is pivotal in setting us on a path. This book helped do that for me. Conditions surrounding mental health treatment for prisoners have improved in many places since the book was written, thanks to litigation and determined advocacy efforts. Yet plenty remains to be done, including and perhaps most especially broad public awareness about the ineffectiveness of incarceration as a rehabilitative approach and the dire need for preventive measures to address societal problems much earlier on. Dr. Menninger’s insistent message regarding this remains relevant today.
Diane Young, Ph.D.
School of Social Work & Criminal Justice
Promoted to Professor, Spring 2019
Find The Crime of Punishment in the Library
Meaningful reads is a recommended book series commemorating the promotion and tenure of faculty at the University of Washington Tacoma. Beginning with the 2017-2018 academic year, newly promoted or tenured faculty are invited to share a book with thoughts on why the book was meaningful to their career or life.