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The punishment imperative : the rise and failure of mass incarceration in America / Todd R. Clear and Natasha A. Frost.

By: Clear, Todd R.
Contributor(s): Frost, Natasha.
Material type: TextTextPublisher: New York : New York University Press, [2014]Description: xi, 258 pages: illustrations ; 24 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9780814717196 (cl : alk. paper); 0814717195 (cl : alk. paper).Subject(s): Imprisonment -- United States | Corrections -- United States | Criminal justice, Administration of -- United StatesDDC classification: 365/.973
Contents:
The beginning of the end of the punishment imperative -- The contours of mass incarceration -- The punishment imperative as a grand social experiment -- The policies of the punishment imperative -- Two views on the objectives of the punishment imperative -- Assessing the punishment imperative -- Dismantling the punishment imperative.
Summary: "Over the last 35 years, the United States penal system has grown at a rate unprecedented in U.S. history, five times larger than in the past and grossly out of scale with the rest of the world. This growth was part of a sustained and intentional effort to "get tough" on crime, and characterizes a time when no policy options were acceptable save for those that increased penalties. In this book, the authors, both eminent criminologists argue that America's move to mass incarceration from the 1960s to the early 2000s was more than just a response to crime or a collection of policies adopted in isolation; it was a grand social experiment. Tracing a wide array of trends related to the criminal justice system, the book charts the rise of penal severity in America and speculates that a variety of forces, fiscal, political, and evidentiary, have finally come together to bring this great social experiment to an end. The book cautions that the legacy of the grand experiment of the past forty years will be difficult to escape. However the authors suggest that the U.S. now stands at the threshold of a new era in the criminal justice system, and they offer several practical and pragmatic policy solutions to changing the approach to punishment."--Publisher information.
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Item type Current location Call number Status Date due Barcode
Book University of Texas At Tyler
Stacks - 3rd Floor
HV9471 .C574 2014 (Browse shelf) Available 0000002075596

Includes bibliographical references and index.

The beginning of the end of the punishment imperative -- The contours of mass incarceration -- The punishment imperative as a grand social experiment -- The policies of the punishment imperative -- Two views on the objectives of the punishment imperative -- Assessing the punishment imperative -- Dismantling the punishment imperative.

"Over the last 35 years, the United States penal system has grown at a rate unprecedented in U.S. history, five times larger than in the past and grossly out of scale with the rest of the world. This growth was part of a sustained and intentional effort to "get tough" on crime, and characterizes a time when no policy options were acceptable save for those that increased penalties. In this book, the authors, both eminent criminologists argue that America's move to mass incarceration from the 1960s to the early 2000s was more than just a response to crime or a collection of policies adopted in isolation; it was a grand social experiment. Tracing a wide array of trends related to the criminal justice system, the book charts the rise of penal severity in America and speculates that a variety of forces, fiscal, political, and evidentiary, have finally come together to bring this great social experiment to an end. The book cautions that the legacy of the grand experiment of the past forty years will be difficult to escape. However the authors suggest that the U.S. now stands at the threshold of a new era in the criminal justice system, and they offer several practical and pragmatic policy solutions to changing the approach to punishment."--Publisher information.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

Clear (dean, Rutgers Univ. Sch. of Criminal Justice) and Frost (Northeastern Univ. Sch. of Criminology & Criminal Justice) point out that the American prison population has grown hugely over the past 40 years. In six chapters they show how this has happened, from get-tough policies on crime to stricter drug laws and mandatory sentences limiting judicial discretion. The authors call these combined circumstances "the punishment imperative," a grand social experiment that they believe has failed. It has simply become too costly for states to maintain this prison growth; the war on crime no longer excuses this approach. In Chapter 7, the authors discuss an evolving outlook on crime and prisons and a method they obviously prefer that they call "justice reinvestment," which encompasses alternative sentencing, drug and alcohol addiction programs, and early intervention, among other methods. The authors admit that this strategy may not be the lasting solution, but they consider this -reinvestment an indication that the American justice system is looking to new means of handling crime and punishment. -VERDICT This well-documented volume will interest anyone connected to our criminal justice system and may appeal to general readers concerned about the subject of incarceration.-Frances O. Sandiford, formerly with Green Haven Correctional Facility Lib., Stormville, NY (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

CHOICE Review

For the last 40 years, mass incarceration has been the cornerstone of penal policy. More than two million people are behind bars (in both prisons and jails) in the US. Criminal justice professors Clear (Rutgers) and Frost (Northeastern Univ.) clearly examine the history and politics of punishment over the last four decades. The authors note the economic costs and the costs to individuals and communities as a whole of this punitive approach. They point to a surge of interest in the last few years of reversing this course and taking a more rehabilitative and pragmatic approach with criminal offenders. Much of this renewed interest is due to financial considerations, which are constricting many state budgets. The book points out that it will be difficult to move away from the legacy of the past 40 years. But the authors feel that the US is on the threshold of a new era of penal philosophy, and they offer some practical policy solutions to enable the country to move away from a reliance on mass incarceration. It is too soon to tell if a sea change is upon the US penal system, but the authors make their cogent argument in this well-written book. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Most levels/libraries. P. Horne emeritus, Mercer County Community College

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