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Imprisoning Communities: How Mass Incarceration Makes Disadvantaged Neighborhoods Worse (Studies in Crime and Public Policy) Hardcover – July 30, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0195305791 ISBN-10: 0195305795

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Product Details

  • Series: Studies in Crime and Public Policy
  • Hardcover: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (July 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195305795
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195305791
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,260,870 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


"This ambitious book is more than an indictment of the status quo. Clear also offers a compelling new vision for justice, one that would rebuild the same communities that have suffered such enormous harm. Anyone interested in crime policy should read this book."--Jeremy Travis, President, John Jay College of Criminal Justice


"Timely and compelling."--Harvard Law Review


"Clear's analysis shows how mass incarceration disrupts the moving parts of neighborhood life and corrodes neighborhood capacity for self-regulation... This is required reading for those searching for the foundations of a principled punishment policy."--Jeffrey Fagan, Professor of Law and Public Health, Columbia University


About the Author


Todd R. Clear is a Distinguished Professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York, and founding editor of the journal Criminology & Public Policy. He is the author of eleven books and numerous articles and book chapters on criminal justice issues ranging from corrections and sentencing to community justice.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By PRH on November 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book is on the money with research and experience. It is one of many that policy makers and prison administrators should read.

I have only two problems with the book. Early in the book the author sounds like a raving liberal (but he saved this by presenting unbiased evidence throughout the rest of the book). Also, in chapter 8, the author seems to overstate his position on the utility of treatment programs. He states that, "a 15-20% reduction in rearrests hardly constitutes a new penal regime." And then he states that, "Unless reentry programs are widely successful - and there is no reason to think they will be - they cannot solve the problem of mass incarceration"... this is only half of the story. For a very thorough look at programs that are successful, see "What Works in Corrections" by MacKenzie. But it is true that we won't end mass incarceration via reentry or alternatives to incarceration; both, however, are very important and should be utilized to their fullest. If for, example, the resources were allocated to all offenders and a 15% reduction in recidivism were to occur nationwide, this would mean that of the 600,000 offenders released each year, of which according to the BJS 66% will reoffend within 3 years, 59,000 offenders will be better off with treatment programs that work. That is about half the size of the California prison system or more than all of the inmates in all of New England. Clearly, understating the importance of treatment programs is not a good idea when policy makers read (or hopefully read) book such as this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Grace Vaughan on May 7, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Detailed reporting on the negative impact of concentrated incarceration -- on individuals, families, neighborhoods and the U.S. economy. Confirms the solid link that poverty and high dropout rates have with crime, incarceration, teen-pregnancy and unemployment. Helps illuminate the cost/benefits of dealing simultaneously with education, health & wellness, job readiness and decent housing in neighborhoods caught up in inter-generational poverty.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Peter M. Koneazny on October 9, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Todd Clear brings out essential insight into the harm of mass incarceration to the communities most affected by use of prisons as our primary mode of dealing with crime and anti-social behavior. His book is concise, well-written and well-supported.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Xavier Thelakkatt on November 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Lock `em up and throw away the key." That sums up our attitude towards crime and criminals in general. We believe that imprisonment will reduce crime in our society. Today the American society has more than two million people in prisons across the nation. Prisoner population is on the rise and we are building more and more prisons. On the other hand, however crime also is on the increase; prisons do not seem to prevent it.

Todd R. Clear, distinguished professor of John Jay College of Criminal Justice and editor of the journal 'Criminology and Public Safety' demonstrates in this book that the current policy of incarceration is not only ineffective in reducing crime, but it positively contributes to its increase in our neighborhoods. Incarceration aggrevates the very problems it is intended to solve. Our criminal justice system is backfiring. Our politicians and policy makers must take note of this eye-opening book. Well researched and beautifully written, this book provides a wealth of information and food for reflection. At the same time it is an easy read.
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Format: Hardcover
Imprisoning Communities: How Mass Incarceration Makes Disadvantaged Neighborhoods Worse (Studies in Crime and Public Policy)

This book is but yet another siren being sounded to warn the American public to awaken from their delusional slumber. Having written a book detailing my own experiences growing up in impoverished, socially dysfunctional communities, I find the research of Professor Clear not only compelling, but reaffirming the realities tens of millions of individuals in this country face each and every day.

In fiscal 2005 Federal, State, and local governments spent an estimated $204 billion for police protection, corrections and judicial and legal activities, a 5.5% increase over the previous year. There is a vested financial interest by those who profit from maintaining the current status quo as it pertains to so called criminal justice and incarceration.

A holistic and radically different approach to dealing proactively with the conditions and elements which breed crime must be enacted. Or We the People can look forward to the Orwellian world of 1984 becoming our reality in lieu of fiction.
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By Nagy on December 22, 2012
Format: Paperback
For those interested in the social impact of mass incarceration on black and racial minorities, Todd Clear's Imprisoning Communities: How Mass Incarceration Makes Disadvantaged Neighborhoods Worse provides remarkable analysis on the issue.
In the first part of the book, Clear discussed mass incarceration in relationship to incapacitation, deterrence and crimes rates. He argued that the defective functionality of incapacitation and deterrence used by the Justice System producing recidivism instead of fighting crimes.
He notes, released felons, have no choice but to commit more crimes that lead to breaking the social harmony of their poor neighborhoods and leave a gigantic gap in human and social capital.
He argued that one of the hidden damages to poor neighborhoods is the lake of informal social control which leads to modifying that behavior of the newly released felons.

To achieve public safety, he stated is "getting felons involved in interpersonal relationships that imply community solidarity and feeling of involvement." However, it is "impossible to achieve informal social control in poor and devastated neighborhoods that severely lack the ability of any group to act together lacking any shared understanding and believes."

To further explain his argument, he refers to the "collective efficacy" indicating that such neighborhoods usually suffer economic devastation and instability in interpersonal relationships. He argues that "the removal of large number of blacks from their neighborhood causes communities instabilities and produces an increase in crime rates in such areas.
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