Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1708414
 


 



On the Politics of Imprisonments: A Review of Systematic Findings


Aubrey L. Jackson


Ohio State University (OSU)

David Jacobs


Ohio State University (OSU)

December 2010

Annual Review of Law and Social Science, Vol. 6, pp. 129-149, 2010

Abstract:     
The great expansion in imprisonments in the United States in the past 35years is puzzling partly because this abrupt growth is completely unprecedented. Changes in the crime rates alone cannot explain this trend, and ideational accounts that focus on penal styles are problematic. Political explanations, however, show promise, given that governments must provide domestic order and candidates can use public concerns about race and street crime to win elections. This review highlights the empirical literature in sociology and also discusses some important findings in political science and economics. Law-and-order campaign appeals combined with a covert emphasis on the links between race and street crime used to overcome Republican electoral disadvantages seem to provide the most plausible explanations for the rapid increase in U.S. imprisonment rates in this racially divided society. Dissimilar political arrangements help explain why imprisonment trends in the United States have sharply departed from these trends in the affluent but less direct democracies in Western Europe.

Accepted Paper Series


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Date posted: November 14, 2010  

Suggested Citation

Jackson, Aubrey L. and Jacobs, David, On the Politics of Imprisonments: A Review of Systematic Findings (December 2010). Annual Review of Law and Social Science, Vol. 6, pp. 129-149, 2010. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1708414 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-lawsocsci-102209-152933

Contact Information

Aubrey L. Jackson
Ohio State University (OSU) ( email )
Blankenship Hall-2010
901 Woody Hayes Drive
Columbus, OH OH 43210
United States
David Jacobs
Ohio State University (OSU) ( email )
238 Townshend Hall
1885 Neil Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210-1222
United States
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