- Series Information
- The Oxford Handbook of Prisons and Imprisonment
- List of Contributors
- The Imprisonment Boom of the Late Twentieth Century: Past, Present, and Future
- Who Goes to Prison?
- Mass Incarceration and Conditions of Confinement
- Exploring Imprisonment across Cross-National Contexts
- Theories of Mass Incarceration
- Subcultural Adaptations to Incarceration
- The Real Gangbanging Is in Prison
- Women in Prison
- Impact of Incarceration on Families and Communities
- The Two Cultures: Correctional Officers and Key Differences in Institutional Climate
- Measuring and Explaining Inmate Misconduct
- Prison Riots
- Drugs and Prisons
- A General Model of Harm in Correctional Settings
- Understanding the Contours of Prison Disciplinary Procedures
- The Effects of Administrative Segregation: A Lesson in Knowledge Cumulation
- A Comparison of British and American Policies for Managing Dangerous Prisoners: A Question of Legitimacy
- Adult Offender Assessment and Classification in Custodial Settings
- Principles of Effective Intervention with Incarcerated Offenders
- Employment and Vocation Programs in Prison
- Treating Sex Offenders in Prison
- The Multiple Faces of Reentry
- Implementing Prison-based Treatment Programs
- Preventing Suicide in Detention and Correctional Facilities
- Offenders with Mental Illness in Prison
- The Problem of Incarcerating Juveniles with Adults
- The Effect of Prisons on Crime
- Private Prisons in a New Environment
- Policy and Program Innovations in Prisons
- Useful versus Harmful Prison Policies
Abstract and Keywords
This essay discusses changes in the composition of inmate populations in the United States over the past several decades based on legal factors (i.e., types of offenses and offenders) and demographic variables (i.e., race, ethnicity, age, and sex) and examines why variation in inmate composition matters. In particular, black incarceration rates are substantially greater than those of whites and Hispanics, and over time these differences have become more pronounced for black males in particular as compared to other groups. Possible reasons for these changes are considered such as the roles of police and courts in shaping inmate demographics and the implications of the shift from decision-making based on substantive rationality to more “structured“ (formally rational) decision-making.
Daniel P. Mears PhD, is the Mark C. Stafford Professor of Criminology at Florida State University’s College of Criminology and Criminal Justice. He conducts research on crime and policy. His work has appeared in such journals as Criminology and the Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, as well as several books, including Out-of-Control Criminal Justice (Cambridge University Press), American Criminal Justice Policy (Cambridge University Press), and Prisoner Reentry in the Era of Mass Incarceration (Sage).
Joshua C. Cochran PhD, is an Assistant Professor at the University of Cincinnati, School of Criminal Justice. His research interests include criminological theory, imprisonment, and sentencing. His work has appeared in Criminology, Journal of Quantitative Criminology, Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, Justice Quarterly, and in the book Prisoner Reentry in the Era of Mass Incarceration (Sage).
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