America Behind Bars: Trends in Imprisonment, 1950-2000 by Rick Ruddell

By Rick Ruddell

Ruddell examines the political, cultural, and social components that contributed to the expansion in incarceration within the usa from 1952 to 2000. Controlling for the affects of financial pressure, violent crime, unemployment, direct outlays for tips, the share of inhabitants that's black, and the proportion of men elderly 15 to 29 years, Ruddell reports the affects of political disaffection, civic disengagement, and social disruption on grownup imprisonment tendencies. The findings offer facts of the relationships among raises within the use of punishment and cultural or political values. the implications additionally help the proposition that using punishment is an inherently advanced and political technique.

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Extra resources for America Behind Bars: Trends in Imprisonment, 1950-2000 (Criminal Justice, Recent Scholarship)

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In fact, it has been suggested that the politicization of the prosecutor’s role has also lead to the increased use of punishment (Miller, 1996). The net effect of such sentencing policies is that discretion has been removed from judges (Marvell and Moody, 1996; Mauer, 1999; Tonry, 1995). Ironically, the imposition of mandatory minimum sentencing schemes made the punishment differential for a repeat property or drug offender and a violent criminal indistinguishable (von Hirsch, 1999). The American Bar Association (1999:1) observes that: mandatory minimums produce an inflexibility and rigidity in the imposition of punishment that is unfitting to a system that touts itself as a justice system.

CHAPTER 2 Justice Systems and Punishment A number of legislative factors have been identified as being responsible for the growth in the use of imprisonment, including mandatory minimum sentences, truth-in-sentencing guidelines, and three-strike policies. These sentencing schemes were all highly associated with the war on drugs. Parallel with the introduction of these sentencing factors, however, two significant changes in correctional practices—the declining use of parole for early releases, and the switch from indeterminate to determinate prison sentences—reduced the flexibility of correctional systems to discharge inmates who demonstrated some type of rehabilitative progress, or to control prison overcrowding.

In addition, a broad array of services, from health and psychiatric care to telephone services, are also delivered to prisons. Supplying these goods and services to prisons can be a profitable venture (Logan, 1990). While privatization became a popular topic of discussion in the early 1990s as a mechanism to make prisons more economically efficient, again this interest post-dated the rise in the use of incarceration. Now that private operators are entrenched in providing these services, however, they may be very difficult to remove— especially given their ability to lobby politicians.

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