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January 5, 2014

"The Punishment Imperative The Rise and Failure of Mass Incarceration in America"

9780814717196_FullThe title of this post is the title of this notable new book published by NYU Press authored by Todd R. Clear and Natasha A. Frost.  Here is the book's description from the NYU Press site:

“Backed up by the best science, Todd Clear and Natasha Frost make a compelling case for why the nation’s forty-year embrace of the punitive spirit has been morally bankrupt and endangered public safety. But this is far more than an exposé of correctional failure. Recognizing that a policy turning point is at hand, Clear and Frost provide a practical blueprint for choosing a different correctional future — counsel that is wise and should be widely followed.” — Francis T. Cullen, Distinguished Research Professor of Criminal Justice, University of Cincinnati

Over the last 35 years, the US penal system has grown at a rate unprecedented in US history — five times larger than in the past and grossly out of scale with the rest of the world.  This growth was part of a sustained and intentional effort to “get tough” on crime, and characterizes a time when no policy options were acceptable save for those that increased penalties.  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, The Punishment Imperative 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.

Clear and Frost stress that while the doubling of the crime rate in the late 1960s represented one of the most pressing social problems at the time, this is not what served as a foundation for the great punishment experiment.  Rather, it was the way crime posed a political problem — and thereby offered a political opportunity — that became the basis for the great rise in punishment.  The authors claim that the punishment imperativeis a particularly insidious social experiment because the actual goal was never articulated, the full array of consequences was never considered, and the momentum built even as the forces driving the policy shifts diminished.  Clear and Frost argue 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.

The Punishment Imperative cautions that the legacy of the grand experiment of the past forty years will be difficult to escape.  However, the authors suggest that the United States now stands at the threshold of a new era in penal policy, and they offer several practical and pragmatic policy solutions to changing the criminal justice system’s approach to punishment.  Part historical study, part forward-looking policy analysis, The Punishment Imperative is a compelling study of a generation of crime and punishment in America.

January 5, 2014 at 07:06 AM | Permalink


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Let me provide simultaneous translation, because we have landed on Animal Farm in the lawyer Twilight Zone. The authors are not even lawyers, they are worse, New York academics, completely divorced from blatant reality.

Crime went wild after the lawyer traitor loosed the criminals on the public in the 1960's and 1970's, seeing them as freedom fighters or some such. Incidentally, lawyer government make work jobs exploded everywhere, generated by the need to cope with the lawyer caused policy chaos and all out attacks on all competing institutions, including the family, school, church, psychiatry, business, innovation. Name something good and successful about our American Way of Life, the lawyer put it under siege. Lawyers sieged it. Lawyers had to defend it. Understand the business model, the racket?

Come the 1980's, and it was Fallujah in all our major cities. The night belonged to the criminal. He woke at 10 PM and the party began at high decibels. There was nothing that anyone could do. Violent crime shot up. Murder rose up more slowly because of the lesson learned in Vietnam, the Golden Hour, victim logistics, fluid management, surgical advances. Without these technical enhancements, things could have been far worse.

In any case, the public outrage about recidivists pillaging our civilization, especially black felons, resulted in the election of anti-crime advocates. The black crime rate had always been slightly higher than that of whites, that is until the 1960's, when the feminist lawyer destroyed the black family. It had survived unspeakable stresses, but not the feminist lawyer. Bastardy rates had been slightly higher than that of whites for 100 years. Now it shot up to 70%, generating crime leaps 6 times higher than any in whites. Blacks were oppressed by genocidal terrorist maniacs of the Democratic Party. Now, they succumbed to the feminist maniacs of the Democratic Party, and continued to vote for this Party, mostly paid off by welfare benefits, now requiring a salary of $60,000 a year to duplicate.

So the Crime Control Act of 1984 was enacted to increase the imprisonment of criminals, especially black thugs. Black victims were being supported as they have always been, by the Republican Party, the Party of Lincoln. It set up a Sentencing Commission and other anti-crime measures. It takes about 10 years for major legal changes to fully percolate through the society. So crime dropped like a rock. Why? Not lead levels since most criminals have low lead levels, not bastardy changes, since most are still bastards, not policing enhancements, which is a joke to the criminals. No. It is simple. The criminal had been removed.

What happens when crime drops to historic lows? We do not need as many government workers, especially lawyers. There is actual unemployment in the lawyer profession. The high tuition of law school was never going to be recovered, driving taxis. Panic time on the Left.

So this book says, bring back the 1960's. Loose the vicious predators, especially on our black friends. They do not have political power, and will just take huge crime rates, quietly. And they will continue their suicidal support of the Democratic Party. This party is bringing the biggest racists, ethnic cleansers of black neighborhoods, illegal alien Hispanics. Black people will still support the party of the KKK at a rate of 90%. So goes the thinking of the left. Whites would be demanding troops on each corner from their all Republican elected officials if Fallujah visited Park Avenue, as it had black areas.

The resulting explosion in social pathology and return of crime rates will restore the government make work jobs, and especially the lawyer jobs.

I have not read the book, but have read their minds. The authors can only leave that little consequence out in bad faith, because it is self evident. This is part of a campaign to restore government jobs after crime shoots up. Given the intelligence and expertise of the authors, that choice has be intentional, and thus in bad faith.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 5, 2014 1:49:10 PM

"The Removal of Criminals from the Street and The Massive Decline of Crime in America"
I.M. Naughta Awstrij

Posted by: Adamakis | Jan 6, 2014 10:46:44 AM

Every Catholic understands Mass Incarceration. If one goes early to seven o'clock Mass the session is quicker. They know that you have to get to work. One can not get up and leave Mass unless one is having a heart attack. So, the punishment is severe: sixteen Hail Marys full of grace and a slap on the knuckles from a nun bearing a ruler.

Posted by: Liberty1st | Jan 6, 2014 12:36:46 PM

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