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May 31, 2017

Diving into the Pfaffian perspective on modern mass incarceration

Regular readers have seen me regularly highlight in this space the work of Professor John Pfaff and his important accounting of what accounts for modern mass incarceration (e.g., in this post a few years ago, I flagged prior posts chronicling nearly a decade of Pfaff's empirical insights and analysis).  These days Pfaff's recently published book, "Locked In: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration — and How to Achieve Real Reform," is helping to give his perspectives a wider airing.  And just today I noticed that two notable media sources are talking up and talking with Pfaff about his work:

From The Crime Report, a two-part Q&A:

From Vox: "Why you can’t blame mass incarceration on the war on drugs: The standard liberal narrative about mass incarceration gets a lot wrong. A new book breaks through the myths."

May 31, 2017 at 04:57 PM | Permalink


First, they came for the drug offenders. Now, they are coming for the violent offenders.

Hey, Pfaff, I demand your home address. We are going to place the released violent offenders on your street.

Posted by: David Behar | May 31, 2017 5:13:45 PM

There has to be an arrest before there is a prosecution and the judges are not potted plants. OTOH the role of the prosecutor is too large to ignore.

Pfaff is right about the data. Prior to sentencing it is all case-by-case data that contains confidential information and after sentencing it is primarily classified and aggregated data were it is easier to purge of confidential items.

Posted by: John Neff | May 31, 2017 6:43:44 PM

This book is a joke. 1 in 10 crimes is prosecuted, 1 in 100, if one includes internet crimes. When they are prosecuted, defendants are offered discounts on the severity of their charges amounting to 90%.

One needs a microscope to find punishment in this country. And now, the lawyer is coming after the little punishment that is going on. That is why there are millions of crimes every year. There is virtually no risk from the lawyer profession.

Posted by: David Behar | May 31, 2017 8:43:48 PM

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