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Chapter ALL

CRM/LAW C7 Chapter Notes - Chapter ALL: Prison Reform, Deinstitutionalisation, John Ashcroft

Criminology, Law and Society
Course Code
Peter Hanink

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Race to incarcerate
Intro to U.S. prisons from inception o export
The # of prisons was stable for most of the 20th century
Began to rise in early 70s and skyrocketed for the next 4 decades
US. Incarceration rate is highest in the world
19th century penitentiary was formed as a way for prisoners to labor insolation
and reflect on their ways
Prior to 1790 jail and prison were only for holding defendants
oPunishment was either paid for by the rich and they got out on bail or
for the poor public whippings
After the American revolution capital punishment was seen as barbaric and
imprisonment was more humane
Looking back on our system little has changed
The basic concept is caging humans
The criminal justice system is reactive and punitive
Due to social upheavals in the recent decades there was a rise in a prison
reform movement and were hoping for deinstitutionalization
But instead the following decades only brought more prisons being built
The rise of the tough on crime movement
The race to incarcerate formally began in 1973
Prisons haven’t changed much but our idea of their purposed has
o1960s rehabilitation was challenged by both liberals and conservatives
oLiberals: how can real transformation occur through force
oConservatives: argued indeterminate sentencing was having criminals go
Truth of tough on crime
Reasons for rising crime
1. baby boomers
2. heroin swept through cities
3. rapid urbanization of the population which led to more crime
tough on crime came about when economy was coming to the inequality it is today and
power elites began to fear rebellion
increase wasn’t due to a policy change but an increase in crime rate
The Reagan bush years
Reagan dismissed government involvement as a utopian fantasy
He declared a war on drugs
This caused higher prosecution and incarceration
Crime as politics (Clinton years)
He advocated a mixed approach (prevention, education, job training)
Passed nations first 3 strikes law
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