Mass Incarceration in Three Midwestern States: Origins and Trends

46 Pages Posted: 7 Jan 2013 Last revised: 5 May 2014

Date Written: January 7, 2013


This Article considers how the mass incarceration story has played out over the past forty years in three medium-sized, Midwestern states, Indiana, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. The three stories are similar in many respects, but notable differences are also apparent. For instance, Minnesota’s imprisonment rate is less than half that of the other two states, while Indiana imprisons more than twice as many drug offenders as either of its peers. The Article seeks to unpack these and other imprisonment trends and to relate them to crime and arrest data over time, focusing particularly on the relative importance of violent crime and drug enforcement as drivers of imprisonment growth.

Keywords: prisoners, states, trends, criminal law

Suggested Citation

O'Hear, Michael M., Mass Incarceration in Three Midwestern States: Origins and Trends (January 7, 2013). Valparaiso University Law Review, Vol. 47, No. 3, 2013, Marquette Law School Legal Studies Paper No. 13-02, Available at SSRN:

Michael M. O'Hear (Contact Author)

Marquette University - Law School ( email )

Sensenbrenner Hall
P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201
United States
414-288-3587 (Phone)
414-288-5914 (Fax)

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