December, 2014

Amy E. Lerman, The Modern Prison Paradox: Politics, Punishment, and Social Community

  • David Skarbek

    Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Brown University
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The United States prison system is a potent example of American exceptionalism. No other country incarcerates nearly as many people. To give some perspective, if all 2.2 million prisoners constituted their own city, they would be the fourth largest in the country, just short of Chicago. If they comprised their own state, they would be more populous than fifteen states. In addition, the rate of incarceration, 707 out of every 100,000 residents, far exceeds the average incarceration rate of European countries (a paltry 140 out of 100,000 residents). Such a widespread social phenomenon would seem to have important consequences for economic, political, and social institutions. This is precisely what Amy Lerman investigates in her excellent new book, The Modern Prison Paradox: Politics, Punishment, and Social Community.

Find article at Springer Link