A Plague of Prisons: The Epidemiology of Mass Incarceration in America

A Plague of Prisons: The Epidemiology of Mass Incarceration in America

by Ernest Drucker


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A Plague of Prisons: The Epidemiology of Mass Incarceration in America by Ernest Drucker

When Dr. John Snow first traced an outbreak of cholera to a water pump in the Soho district of London in 1854, the field of epidemiology was born. Ernest Drucker’s A Plague of Prisons takes the same concepts and tools of public health that have successfully tracked epidemics of flu, tuberculosis, and AIDS to make the case that our current unprecedented level of imprisonment has become an epidemic. Drucker passionately argues that imprisonment—originally conceived as a response to the crimes of individuals—has become mass incarceration: a destabilizing force, a plague upon our body politic, that undermines families and communities, damaging the very social structures that prevent crime.

Described as a “towering achievement” (Ira Glasser) and “the clearest and most intelligible case for a reevaluation of how we view incarceration” (Spectrum Culture), A Plague of Prisons offers a cutting-edge perspective on criminal justice in twenty-first-century America that “could help to shame the U.S. public into demanding remedial action” (The Lancet).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781595588791
Publisher: New Press, The
Publication date: 05/28/2013
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 783,946
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Ernest Drucker is a scholar in residence and senior research associate at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York. He is professor emeritus of family and social medicine at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine and adjunct professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. He is an NIH-funded researcher, editor-in-chief of the international Harm Reduction Journal, a Fulbright Senior Specialist in Global Health, and a Soros Justice Fellow. He is also a founder and former chairman of Doctors of the World/USA. He lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

1 An Epidemiological Riddle 1

2 Cholera in London: The Ghost Maps of Dr. Snow 11

3 AIDS: The Epidemiology of a New Disease 19

4 A Different Kind of Epidemic 37

5 Anatomy of an Outbreak: New York's Rockefeller Drug Laws and the Prison Pump 50

6 Orders of Magnitude: The Relative Impact of Mass Incarceration 68

7 A Self-Sustaining Epidemic: Modes of Reproduction 78

8 Chronic Incapacitation: The Long Tail of Mass Incarceration 108

9 The Contagion of Punishment: Collateral Damage to Children and Families of Prisoners 141

10 Ending Mass Incarceration: A Public Health Model 163

Notes 191

Index 213

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