This book presents both a survey of and commentary upon the penal process of England and Wales between 1945 and 2020 from the primary perspective of prisons and their operational management. Part I focusses on the extent to which governmental polities, changing concepts in penology and significant events affected the performance and management of prisons during four key periods: 1945-1991; 1991-1997; 1997-2007 and 2007-2020. Part II presents a vision for more effective operation of prisons within the wider penal process in the 2020s and beyond. It draws upon the author's academic insights and his experience as a former prison governor. This book speaks to those in the social sciences, law and politics and to professionals in government and in the penal system who are interested in reform.