Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 23 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This essay focuses in greater detail on sources of the massive increase in US prison admissions in the late 20th century. It argues that subtle, and not so subtle, shifts in policy and practice lead to changes in the way people approach crime prevention and control, and those shifts ultimately explain changing rates of incarceration. Elsewhere, these dynamics have been referred to as the “iron law” of prison populations. Explaining increases (or decreases) in prison populations is fairly straightforward-it is invariably a question of policies that drive prison populations up or down. Explaining what led to those policies, how they came to exist, and why they were deemed necessary is much more complicated. The recent downturn in incarceration rates is also considered within this framework.

Keywords: mass incarceration, US prison admissions, crime prevention, incarceration rates, “iron law” of prison populations

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.