How Changes in American Culture Triggered Hyper-Incarceration: Variations on the Tazian View

27 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 2014 Last revised: 22 Apr 2015

Christopher Slobogin

Vanderbilt University - Law School

Date Written: April 21, 2015

Abstract

American imprisonment rates are far higher than the rates in virtually every Western country, even after taking into account differing rates of crime. The late Professor Andrew Taslitz suggested that at least one explanation for this puzzle is the relative lack of “populist, deliberative democracy” in the United States. This article, written for a symposium honoring Professor Taslitz, examines that thesis from a comparative perspective, looking in particular at how differences between American and European attitudes toward populism, capitalism, religiosity, racial attitudes and proceduralism may have led to increased incarceration rates. It also tries to explain another puzzle that has received little attention: why these cultural differences, which have existed for some time, only had an impact on incarceration rates after the 1960s.

Keywords: mass incarceration, Andrew Taslitz, populism, religiosity, privatization, proceduralism

Suggested Citation

Slobogin, Christopher, How Changes in American Culture Triggered Hyper-Incarceration: Variations on the Tazian View (April 21, 2015). Howard Law Journal, Forthcoming; Vanderbilt Public Law Research Paper No. 14-34. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2512845

Christopher Slobogin (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States

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