Please join us for a talk being given by Adaner Usmani from Brown University.
The Origins of Mass Incarceration
An influential view holds that America's punitive turn was a reaction to the Civil Rights movement. Recent work on incarceration, however, has argued that the rise in violence in the 1960s and 1970s played a much larger role than commonly believed. I make two contributions to this challenge. First, I gather new evidence that shows the imprint of violence on the politics of the punitive turn. Second, I propose a new way to think about the relationship between violence and punishment. American violence yielded mass incarceration not because it had to, but because the structure of American institutions and the balance of power between poor and rich severely constrained public policy.