Killer Looks: The Forgotten History of Plastic Surgery in Prisons

Zara Stone. Prometheus, $29.95 (352p) ISBN 978-1-63388-672-8
Journalist Stone (The Future of Science Is Female: The Brilliant Minds Shaping the 21st Century) details how prisoners about to be released were able to change the appearance of their faces in her riveting and well-researched latest. Starting in the 1930s, prisons such as New York’s Sing Sing provided inmates with elective plastic surgery—face lifts, liposuction, scar and drug track removals—in order to give them a better chance of rehabilitation upon release. A 1967 study done at New York’s Riker’s Island correctional facility concluded that inmates who had plastic surgery had a 42% recidivism rate, as opposed to 75% recidivism rate in the general population. Programs across the country had similar results when matched with social and vocational services for the inmates, Stone notes. But public backlash, particularly a Houston Chronicle exposé in 1989, spelled the beginning of the end of the services in Texas and had a ripple effect across the country. People were outraged at inmates receiving “beauty” surgeries paid for by taxpayers, even though the benefits for society weren’t disputed. By the mid-1990s, almost all such programs were discontinued as funds for many rehabilitation programs for inmates were slashed. Graceful prose bolsters this fascinating account. This is essential reading for anyone interested in criminal rehabilitation. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 07/20/2021
Release date: 10/01/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 360 pages - 978-1-63388-673-5
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