|This pattern mirors the exponentialgrowth of psychotropic drugs in children|
|INCARCERATION RATES |
PER 100,000 OF POPULATION
Over the past 20 years, the United States has experienced a massive
The first of the following sections reviews evidence that the level of incarceration has increased and that this increase has been clustered in social and geographic space. Establishing these facts is crucial for the argument that incarceration can plausibly affect less coercive institutions of social control. The second section
The third and final section outlines the research required to better assess the impact of incarceration on less coercive institutions of social control.
The use of incarceration has increased massively over the past 15 years, both in terms of the number of persons in prison on a given day and in terms of the cumulative number of persons experiencing incarceration over that period. This intrusion of incarceration into society has not been randomly distributed in social and geographic space. It has been greatest for young black males, first in
Evidence from stock rates
For blacks, the risk of being incarcerated increased from 554 per 100,000 to
Exhibit 1. Rate of incarceration in State and Federal prisons,
1980 1996 change 1980 1996 change
Based on prisoners with a sentence of more than 1 year. The numbers for race and Hispanic origin were estimated based on the State inmate surveys in 1979 and 1997 and the Federal inmate survey in 1997. Estimates have been rounded to the nearest 100.
PRISON USE AND SOCIAL CONTROL
1,574 per 100,000. For whites, it increased from 73 per 100,000 to 193 per 100,000 (Blumstein and Beck 1999). Although blacks are about seven times more likely than whites to be incarcerated, this disproportionality has remained relatively constant over time. In absolute terms, however, the increase in the rate of people incarcerated has been much greater for blacks than whites. For
While the racial disproportionality in the prison population has remained reasonably constant overall, it has increased for drug offenders. The incarceration rate for black drug offenders has increased much more than the rate for whites.
Over time, the State prison population has included a larger proportion of inmates who did not have a violent incarceration offense and who had not been incarcerated previously (Lynch and Sabol 1997). In 1979, 5.7 percent
and non-underclass, 1979 and 1986
Exhibit 3. Adult male incarceration rates per 100,000 by race
White Underclass 281 706 425
* Other race categories were not included because of small numbers and the unreliability of the Hispanic classification over time and place of inmates were admitted for a drug offense and had no prior convictions for violence. By 1986, that proportion had changed little, to 7.0 percent. In 1991, however, 17.8 percent of inmates were in for drug offenses and had no prior incarcerations for violence. This is consistent with the previous finding that,
Evidence from admissions rates
Property White Underclass 109 268 245
* Other race categories were not included because of small numbers and the unreliability of the
These changes in the level and distribution of incarceration are consistent with the contention that incarceration has changed in ways that can undermine less coercive institutions of social control. The level of incarceration has increased massively, which increases the likelihood of disrupting groups rather than individuals.
These increases are highly clustered in social and geographic space,
Evidence of the Breakdown in Noncoercive
Models of the effect of incarceration on
Although this review is focused on the potentially negative effects of incarceration on less coercive institutions of social control, it is essential that we also consider the possible positive effects of imprisonment on these institutions.
Therefore, we review models explaining both the possible negative and positive effects of incarceration policies.
Models of positive effects
Absent this stigmatization, deterrence will not occur (Zimring and Hawkins 1973). Nagin’s argument is not that imprisonment will bolster less coercive institutions of social control, but that without these less coercive institutions of social control, imprisonment may not deter crime. The novelty of Nagin’s argument is the linkage of imprisonment to less coercive institutions of social control, rather than viewing it alone as an instrument of crime reduction.
There is virtually no theory or empirical work that associates imprisonment directly with building or supporting less coercive institutions of social control.
Incarceration will weaken families by removing men from families and by reducing the supply of marriageable men. This will make families
Incarceration will weaken families by removing men from
This will make families less effective as socializing agents
Source: Lynch and Sabol 1998a.
Exhibit 7. Nonrecursive model of crime control, social