SAGE Journal Articles
Click on the following links. Please note these will open in a new window.
Abstract: Most recent analyses of US penality describe and explain the exceptional harshening of punishment over the previous three decades. This article challenges and qualifies these accounts by identifying 10 cultural, moral, and practical drivers of a bipartisan reconsideration of the discourses and policies responsible for mass incarceration. These penal-reform catalysts and drivers include: (1) the crime decline; (2) the Great Recession; (3) the prisoner-reentry movement and attendant changes in the moral status of prisoners; (4) apparent shifts in public attitudes about punishment; (5) ‘punitive saturation’ and the cyclical nature of penal thinking and policy; (6) changing dominant conceptions of the criminal offender; (7) the return of human dignity to US jurisprudence; (8) the ideational influence of Christian reformers who assail the morality of excessive punishment; (9) the conservative ‘Right on Crime’ initiative that promotes a range of reforms formerly associated with the Left; and (10) the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), whose model legislation once drove mass incarceration but now aims to curtail it. The article also invites theoretical analysis of whether ongoing shifts represent a structural reordering of the penal field akin to the punitive turn or merely a set of benevolent tendencies within the same carceral paradigm.
Abstract: This article discusses how states are tackling prison overcrowding and fiscal constraints by decarcerating inmates and focusing correctional efforts in the community.