The investigative reporting (or muckraking as Jessica Mitford might call her own work) in Kind and Usual Punishment is at least 40 years old. However, what used to be standard practice in the American prison system is an eye opener. Even if things have changed, prison conditions were so bad while in living memory I'm not surprised why the prison-industrial complex is still an issue for discussion. With Mitford's usual wit, she gives a series of reports on what she has found as common practices, or as "kind and usual punishment" as she is trying to get at the real everyday conditions during each prisoner's stay. From parole boards, medical studies, prison work programs, and prison reform, Mitford carefully assembles her facts from interviews and internal prison system publications. Mitford's research is carefully balanced by her narrative format. Instead of trying to enrage her readers, she is trying to expose the embarrassing facts of life that within prison administration make perfect sense, but are absurd or even cruel when viewed by an outsider.I really wish that Mitford had had the opportunity to make an update to this work of investigative journalism before her death to see how things had changed from 1973, when the work first appeared, to when she died in the mid-1990s. The breadth and presentation of the issue that Jessica is able to achieve is impressive, and if I wanted to hear about the prison system from anyone it would be Jessica Mitford.Kind and Usual Punishment epitomizes Mitford's famous philosophy, "You may not be able to change the world, but at least you can embarrass the guilty.” For sure, she embarrassed more than a few prison system officials.