Caught: The Prison State and the Lockdown of American Politics by Marie Gottschalk, Book Review in Punishment and Society
Punishment and Society, December 2015, pp. 1-9
9 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2016
Date Written: December 31, 2015
It is often said that a crisis is a terrible thing to waste, allowing for progress that might not be accomplished in a saner atmosphere. Mass incarceration is the USA’s current crisis, and we should exploit this opportunity to reduce unnecessary imprisonment. But in order to move beyond symbolic sound bites to achieve real and lasting progress, we need more nuanced discussions of the challenges and a thoughtfully planned effort to overcome them. Fortunately, a new book by University of Pennsylvania political scientist Marie Gottschalk takes us past the broad outlines of debate to explore the sobering complexities inherent in prison reform. She doubts that current progressive narratives will be enough to roll back the penalties of the 1980s and envisions a very different path forward. Most importantly, she reminds us of the enormity of our task.
Keywords: mass incarceration, prison reform, prison downsizing, sex offenders, economic incentives for incarceration
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