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Prisoners of Politics: Breaking The Cycle Of Mass Incarceration

Prisoners of Politics: Breaking The Cycle Of Mass Incarceration

Escrito por Rachel Elise Barkow

Narrado por Katherine Fenton


Prisoners of Politics: Breaking The Cycle Of Mass Incarceration

Escrito por Rachel Elise Barkow

Narrado por Katherine Fenton

valoraciones:
4.5/5 (2 valoraciones)
Longitud:
10 horas
Publicado:
Mar 4, 2019
ISBN:
9781974937189
Formato:
Audiolibro

Descripción

The United States has the world’s highest rate of incarceration, a form of punishment that ruins lives and makes a return to prison more likely. As awful as that truth is for individuals and their families, its social consequences?recycling offenders through an overwhelmed criminal-justice system, ever-mounting costs, unequal treatment before the law, and a growing class of permanently criminalized citizens?are even more devastating. With the authority of a prominent legal scholar and the practical insights gained through on-the-ground work on criminal-justice reform, Rachel Barkow explains how dangerous it is to base criminal-justice policy on the whims of the electorate, which puts judges, sheriffs, and politicians in office. Instead, she argues for an institutional shift toward data and expertise, following the model used to set food- and workplace-safety rules. Barkow’s prescriptions are rooted in a thorough and refreshingly ideology-free cost-benefit analysis of how to cut mass incarceration while maintaining public safety. She points to specific policies that are deeply problematic on moral grounds and have failed to end the cycle of recidivism. Her concrete proposals draw on the best empirical information available to prevent crime and improve the reentry of former prisoners into society.
Publicado:
Mar 4, 2019
ISBN:
9781974937189
Formato:
Audiolibro


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  • (5/5)
    Prisoners of Politics: Breaking the Cycle of Mass Incarceration is a welcome addition to the books tackling the carceral state the United States has become. Rachel Elise Barkow has the personal experience that gives her credibility on both sides of the aisle and a clear, concise way of making her case. She organized Prisoners of Politics into three sections, the first explaining the problem and how we got here, the second explaining the forces that drove bad policy, and the third outlining reforms to lead us out of this mess.The first section explaining how we got in this mess starts at the tendency to define crimes too broadly, an example being the streaker, the public urinator, the rapist, and the child molester all being listed as sex offenders. Then Barkow looks at the use of sentences that are too long. It's the likelihood of getting caught, not the length of the sentence, that is the primary deterrent and long sentences can be counter-productive, causing more crime in the long run. Then she looks at prison and how it fails to do much more than warehouse people, falling down on the job of rehabilitation and reentry. Fourth, she looks at the traditional checks on over-punishment, parole, clemency, and pardons, and how they have been eroded and nearly eliminated mostly by the outrage machine. The last chapter of Part One looks at the collateral damage of the carceral state on families and communities. This includes all the post-incarceration punishments levied on former felons like denying them occupational licensing, affordable housing, and food stamps.In the second section, Brakow looks at two main forces leading us down the road to having more people locked up than China. The first is populist politics, the impulse to stoke fear and promise protection, the law-and-order tough-on-crime politics that sells. The second are the institutions that benefit from a system geared more toward retribution than crime control, the police, prosecutors, and prison guards, in particular.In the last section, Barkow suggests important reforms including reining in the power of prosecutors, utilizing experts and objective data in setting policy and dragging the courts back to where they used to be on defendants' rights and cruel and unusual punishment.Prisoners of Politics is well-organized and well-argued. It is also well-documented with seventy-four pages of endnotes. I love that very small superscript numbers were used for the reference marks so they were not too obtrusive and did not interrupt the flow of a paragraph. This is important when a single paragraph might have seven endnotes. When I wanted to check a note, I needed to pull the page close, but that is so much easier than having the text constantly broken and interrupted by overly obvious reference marks. It seems a small point, but it makes academic reading so much more readable.I like that Barkow kept herself in the narrative. She served on the U.S. Sentencing Commission and clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia, she has a point of view informed by experience. She also brought a moral spirit to the text as an honest advocate for a more rational and more just system.I also appreciate her honest assessment of what reforms are more likely and what the impediments are. The outrage industry is not going away and she makes a good case for how to limit its effects.This is a smart book and I encourage people interested in criminal justice reform and over-incarceration to read it.I received a copy of Prisoners of Politics from the publisher.Prisoners of Politics at Harvard University PressRachel Elise Barkow faculty pagehttps://tonstantweaderreviews.wordpress.com/2019/06/08/9780674919235/