Causes Of Mass Incarceration

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The causes of mass incarceration, a term used to describe rapid the growth of the United States’ imprisoned population from the early 1970’s until the present day, have been a topic of great debate in recent times. The National Research Council reports that the United States’ penal population of approximately 2.2 million adults, at a rate of 716 prisoners per 100,000 citizens, is the largest in the world. This is an astounding increase from the early 1970s where the rate of imprisonment excluding jails was approximately 110 prisoners per 100,000 citizens. Detailed research analyses of the events between the early 1970s to the present day make it clear that social and political ideas and movements including changes in policy making,
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Federal statutes like the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984, which according to the National Research Council, was intended to direct the U.S Commission to develop guidelines for reducing disparities, to provide alternatives to incarceration for most nonviolent and non serious first offenses, and to be guided by a prison population constraint policy but was instead used to promote mandatory guidelines, resulted in a spike in both the percentage of individuals receiving prison sentences and the length of sentences for many …show more content…
The migration of many individuals to northern, western, and midwestern states, coupled with the rising tensions of the civil rights movement led many political figures to call for more law enforcement practices to combat the rising crime rates. Then President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Law Enforcement Assistance Act, which according to a Time article entitled “ Why we should reconsider the war on crime”, first established a direct role for the federal government in local police operations, court systems, and state prisons by means of federal funding, served as a means to combat this and simultaneously ushered in the “ war on crime”. The next few years of Johnson’s administration were filled with federal statutes aimed at increasing law enforcement funding in order to lower the crime rate across the country. On the surface, Johnson’s statues seemed to be beneficial to combatting crime, they were having adverse effects. The different statutes, according to the national research council, ultimately gave local, state, and federal authorities increased capacity for arrest, prosecution and

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