It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Social Justice: Policing & Incarceration: Incarceration & Racial Justice
A great place to start research about incarceration is this Research Starter. Learning first about the context of prisons and the prison "industry" can give a researcher insight to better defined topics. We all know imprisonment has serious impact not only on the inmate, but on the family, community, and society as a whole. Use the resources on this page to begin your research. (Click here to learn what a research starter is.)
The video below highlights some of the issues related to mass incarceration. What questions does this video create for you?
Mass Incarceration on Trial by Jonathan SimonFor nearly forty years the United States has been gripped by policies that have placed more than 2.5 million Americans in jails and prisons designed to hold a fraction of that number of inmates. Our prisons are not only vast and overcrowded, they are degrading--relying on racist gangs, lockdowns, and Supermax-style segregation units to maintain a tenuous order. Mass Incarceration on Trial examines a series of landmark decisions about prison conditions--culminating in Brown v. Plata, decided in May 2011 by the U.S. Supreme Court--that has opened an unexpected escape route from this trap of "tough on crime" politics. This set of rulings points toward values that could restore legitimate order to American prisons and, ultimately, lead to the demise of mass incarceration. Simon argues that much like the school segregation cases of the last century, these new cases represent a major breakthrough in jurisprudence--moving us from a hollowed-out vision of civil rights to the threshold of human rights and giving court backing for the argument that, because the conditions it creates are fundamentally cruel and unusual, mass incarceration is inherently unconstitutional. Since the publication of Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow, states around the country have begun to question the fundamental fairness of our criminal justice system. This book offers a provocative and brilliant reading to the end of mass incarceration.
Call Number: KF9730 .S57 2014
Publication Date: 2014-08-05
The Punishment Imperative by Todd R. Clear; Natasha A. FrostOver the last 40 years, the US penal system has grown at an unprecedented rate--five times larger than in the past and grossly out of scale with the rest of the world. In The Punishment Imperative, eminent criminologists Todd R. Clear and Natasha A. Frost argue that America's move to mass incarceration from the 1960s to the early 2000s was more than just a response to crime or a collection of policies adopted in isolation; it was a grand social experiment. Tracing a wide array of trends related to the criminal justice system, this book charts the rise of penal severity in America and speculates that a variety of forces--fiscal, political, and evidentiary--have finally come together to bring this great social experiment to an end. The authors stress that while the doubling of the crime rate in the late 1960s represented one of the most pressing social problems at the time, it was instead the way crime posed a political problem--and thereby offered a political opportunity--that became the basis for the great rise in punishment. Clear and Frost contend that the public's growing realization that the severe policies themselves, not growing crime rates, were the main cause of increased incarceration eventually led to a surge of interest in taking a more rehabilitative, pragmatic, and cooperative approach to dealing with criminal offenders that still continues to this day. Part historical study, part forward-looking policy analysis, The Punishment Imperative is a compelling study of a generation of crime and punishment in America.
Call Number: ebook
Publication Date: 2013-11-01
Charged by Emily BazelonNEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * A renowned journalist and legal commentator exposes the unchecked power of the prosecutor as a driving force in America's mass incarceration crisis--and charts a way out. "An important, thoughtful, and thorough examination of criminal justice in America that speaks directly to how we reduce mass incarceration."--Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy "This harrowing, often enraging book is a hopeful one, as well, profiling innovative new approaches and the frontline advocates who champion them."--Matthew Desmond, author of Evicted FINALIST FOR THE LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE * SHORTLISTED FOR THE J. ANTHONY LUKAS BOOK PRIZE * NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR * The New York Public Library * Library Journal * Publishers Weekly * Kirkus Reviews The American criminal justice system is supposed to be a contest between two equal adversaries, the prosecution and the defense, with judges ensuring a fair fight. That image of the law does not match the reality in the courtroom, however. Much of the time, it is prosecutors more than judges who control the outcome of a case, from choosing the charge to setting bail to determining the plea bargain. They often decide who goes free and who goes to prison, even who lives and who dies. In Charged, Emily Bazelon reveals how this kind of unchecked power is the underreported cause of enormous injustice--and the missing piece in the mass incarceration puzzle. Charged follows the story of two young people caught up in the criminal justice system: Kevin, a twenty-year-old in Brooklyn who picked up his friend's gun as the cops burst in and was charged with a serious violent felony, and Noura, a teenage girl in Memphis indicted for the murder of her mother. Bazelon tracks both cases--from arrest and charging to trial and sentencing--and, with her trademark blend of deeply reported narrative, legal analysis, and investigative journalism, illustrates just how criminal prosecutions can go wrong and, more important, why they don't have to. Bazelon also details the second chances they prosecutors can extend, if they choose, to Kevin and Noura and so many others. She follows a wave of reform-minded D.A.s who have been elected in some of our biggest cities, as well as in rural areas in every region of the country, put in office to do nothing less than reinvent how their job is done. If they succeed, they can point the country toward a different and profoundly better future.
Call Number: KF9640 .B39 2019
Publication Date: 2019-04-09
Redeeming a Prison Society by Amy LevadAmy Levad offers a Catholic perspective that directly addresses the concrete issues from a strongly interdisciplinary approach and utilizes the rich liturgical and sacramental resources of penance and Eucharist to offer a theological vision of reform.