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Locked In: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration-and How to Achieve Real Reform

Locked In: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration-and How to Achieve Real Reform

by John Pfaff

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A groundbreaking reassessment of the American prison system, challenging the widely accepted explanations for our exploding incarceration rates

In Locked In, John Pfaff argues that the factors most commonly cited to explain mass incarceration -- the failed War on Drugs, draconian sentencing laws, an increasing reliance on private prisons -- tell us much less than we think. Instead, Pfaff urges us to look at other factors, especially a major shift in prosecutor behavior that occurred in the mid-1990s, when prosecutors began bringing felony charges against arrestees about twice as often as they had before.

An authoritative, clear-eyed account of a national catastrophe, Locked In is "a must-read for anyone who dreams of an America that is not the world's most imprisoned nation" (Chris Hayes, author of A Colony in a Nation). It transforms our understanding of what ails the American system of punishment and ultimately forces us to reconsider how we can build a more equitable and humane society.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780465096923
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 02/07/2017
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 646,369
File size: 5 MB

About the Author

John F. Pfaff is a Professor of Law at Fordham Law School. His work on mass incarceration, prosecutors, and criminal justice reform has been covered in the Economist, the New Yorker, the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Review, Slate, and Vox, among many others. He has a JD and a PhD in Economics from the University of Chicago. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Table of Contents

Preface vii

Introduction American Exceptionalism 1

Part I The Standard Story

Chapter 1 The War on Drugs 21

Chapter 2 A Brief History of Time (Served) 51

Chapter 3 Private Prisons, Public Spending 79

Chapter 4 Costs of the Standard Story 105

Part II A New Narrative

Chapter 5 The Man Behind the Curtain 127

Chapter 6 The Broken Politics of Punishment 161

Chapter 7 The Third Rail: Violent Offenses 185

Chapter 8 Quo Vadis? 203

Conclusion 233

Acknowledgments 237

Notes 239

Index 297

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