From Mass Incarceration to Mass Control, and Back Again: How Bipartisan Criminal Justice Reform May Lead to a For-Profit Nightmare

University of Pennsylvania Journal of Law and Social Change, Vol. 20, Forthcoming

74 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2016 Last revised: 20 Jun 2016

Carl Takei

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

Date Written: March 3, 2016

Abstract

Since 2010, advocates on the right and left have increasingly allied to denounce mass incarceration and propose serious reductions in the use of prisons. This alliance serves useful shared purposes, but each side comes to it with distinct and in many ways incompatible long-term interests. If progressive advocates rely solely on this alliance without aggressively building our own vision of what decarceration should look like, the unintended consequences could be serious. This Article describes the current mass incarceration paradigm and current left-right reform efforts. It then outlines how, if progressives do not set clear goals for what should replace mass incarceration, these bipartisan efforts risk creating a nightmare scenario of mass control, surveillance, and monitoring of Black and Brown communities. Finally, the Article explains why this mass control paradigm would lay the groundwork for a heavily-privatized, extraordinarily difficult-to-end resurgence of mass incarceration in subsequent decades.

*All views expressed in this article are my own and should not be attributed to the ACLU.

Keywords: mass incarceration, criminal justice, private prisons, probation, parole

Suggested Citation

Takei, Carl, From Mass Incarceration to Mass Control, and Back Again: How Bipartisan Criminal Justice Reform May Lead to a For-Profit Nightmare (March 3, 2016). University of Pennsylvania Journal of Law and Social Change, Vol. 20, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2741932 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2741932

Carl Takei (Contact Author)

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) ( email )

125 Broad Street
New York, NY 10004
United States

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