- 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 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.
Natasha A. Frost PhD, is a professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. She also serves as associate dean for graduate studies in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities. Her primary research and teaching interests in the area of punishment and social control, with a focus on mass incarceration. Professor Frost has served as a consultant for the Massachusetts State Parole Board, conducted correctional program assessment and recidivism studies for several Massachusetts counties, and continues to work collaboratively with the Massachusetts Department of Correction on research related to officer wellbeing. Professor Frost recently completed a study of the impact of incarceration on crime in communities funded by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and is currently conducting NIJ funded research on correctional officer stress. In 2016, Frost and her colleague, Carlos Monteiro, were awarded federal funding to study the many impacts of correctional officer suicide, with a specific focus on its impacts on the officer’s families, friends, co-workers and supervisors and on the well-being of those who continue to work in correctional settings.
Todd R. Clear PhD, is University Professor of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University. The author of 13 books and over 100 articles and book chapters, Clear’s most recent book is The Punishment Imperative (with Natasha Frost). He is currently involved in studies of mass incarceration, the criminological implications of “place,” and the economics of justice reinvestment, and college programs in prisons. His work has been recognized through awards given by the American Society of Criminology, the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, the Rockefeller School of Public Policy, the American Probation and Parole Association, the American Correctional Association, and the International Community Corrections Association. He was the founding editor of the journal Criminology & Public Policy, published by the American Society of Criminology.
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