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Two of the nation's foremost criminal justice scholars present a comprehensive assessment of the factors behind the growth and subsequent overcrowding of American prisons. By critiquing the existing scholarship on prison scale from sociology and history to correctional forecasting and economics, they both reveal that explicit policy changes have had little influence on the increases in imprisonment in recent years and analyze whether it is possible to place limits effectively on prison population.
"The Scale of Imprisonment has an exceptionally well designed literature review of interest to public policy, criminal justice, and public law scholars. Its careful review, analysis, and critique of research is stimulating and inventive."—American Political Science Review
"The authors fram our thoughts about the soaring use of imprisonment and stimulate our thinking about the best way we as criminologists can conduct rational analysis and provide meaningful advice."—Susan Guarino-Ghezzi, Journal of Quantitative Criminology
"Zimring and Hawkins bring a long tradition of excellent criminological scholarship to the seemingly intractable problems of prisons, prison overcrowding, and the need for alternative forms of punishment."—J. C. Watkins, Jr., Choice
Part One: The Issue of Scale
1. Imprisonment as a Social Process: Rusche, Kirchheimer, and Blumstein
2. Imprisonment as Historical Process: Rothman, Foucault, and Ignatieff
3. Imprisonment as a Natural Outcome: The Art or Craft of Correctional Forecasting
4. Imprisonment as a Policy Tool: Prescriptive Approaches
Part Two: The American Experience
5. Five Theories in Search of the Facts
6. Fifty-One Different Countries: State and Regional Experience
7. Policy or Process?
8. Decarceration Policies and Their Impact
9. Toward a Political Economy of Imprisonment