March 12th.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Woodsworth College Courses
Scot Wortley

March 12 , 2012 Explanation for United States’ Prison Growth 1. Political influence: crime was never a top concern before 1968 but topped the list in the 1980s 2. Bifurcation: Globally, there are two distinct sentencing trends arising: increase the length of sentences for violent crimes but less hard on drugs and other summary offences However, the U.S. followed the opposite trend: harder on all offences, especially drug related ones. 3. Felon disenfranchisement: If you have a criminal record, you cannot vote eliminated 30% of black Florida males from the voting list by enacting this law in Florida 4. Public opinion: politicians only interested in polls (“What gets you votes”) 5. Budget and resources: U.S. has been the wealthiest nation for a long timeable to build prisons 6. Media 7. Special Interest 8. Economic motives: communities want government to build prisons because they create stable and well-paid jobs; inmates also count toward your populationincrease in the transfer payment the community receives; U.S. had one of the lowest unemployment rate in the world until the recent economic decline, but even if only half of the prison population is releasedincrease unemployment rateharms the stock market 9. Radicalized Fears Problems with International Comparisons - Political interest to mask
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