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Social Deviance

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Sociology in the News - The Beginning of the End of Mass Incarceration?

Bruce Western

Another post as part of my social justice series.

Bruce Western - of Punishment and Inequality in America fame - hopes so (via Chris Uggen ) in this article in the Boston Review.

"The British sociologist T.H. Marshall described citizenship as the “basic human equality associated with full membership in a community.” By this measure, thirty years of prison growth concentrated among the poorest in society has diminished American citizenship. But as the prison boom attains new heights, the conversation about criminal punishment may finally be shifting.

For the first time in decades, political leaders seem willing to consider the toll of rising incarceration rates. In October last year, Senator Jim Webb convened hearings of the Joint Economic Committee on the social costs of mass incarceration. In opening the hearings, Senator Webb made a remarkable observation, “With the world’s largest prison population,” he said, “our prisons test the limits of our democracy and push the boundaries of our moral identity.”

Read below the fold...

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