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November 14, 2022

"The Inherent Problem with Mass Incarceration"

The title of this post is the title of this new essay authored by Raff Donelson now available via SSRN.  Here is its abstract:

For more than a decade, activists, scholars, journalists, and politicians of various stripes have been discussing and decrying mass incarceration.  This collection of voices has mostly focused on contingent features of the phenomenon. Critics mention racial disparities, poor prison conditions, and spiraling costs.  Some critics have alleged broader problems: they have called for an end to all incarceration, even all punishment. Lost in this conversation is a focus on what is inherently wrong with mass incarceration specifically.  This essay fills that void and supplies an answer, drawing on the early modern English philosopher Thomas Hobbes.  On the Hobbesian account developed here, mass incarceration is always wrong because it is always inconsistent with having a free society.

November 14, 2022 at 09:38 PM | Permalink


What utter tripe. Apart from everything else, the key to ending "mass incarceration" (which doesn't exist and is just an anti-American buzzword) lies with criminals, who can simply choose to do what the "mass majority" does, to wit, avoid behavior for which imprisonment gets imposed.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Nov 14, 2022 11:09:56 PM

Does the essay get into the valid topic, “mass criminality?”

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Nov 15, 2022 2:43:16 PM

TarlsQtr --

Gads, you must be a racist. And where's your compassion?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Nov 17, 2022 10:45:42 AM

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