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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
An Important and Thought-Provoking Book
on August 22, 1999
I want to recommend this book to anyone who is troubled by the fact that the US is the country with the world's second highest incarceration rate, right after Russia: currently, 1.7 million Americans are in prison or jail. Half of all prison inmates are African American. It is impossible to summarize the author's subtle and well documented analyses in a few sentences. He convincingly shows that these numbers are not, or are not merely, due to high rates of criminal activity, but rather to factors such as social inequality, inordinate media attention given to crime, political demagoguery ("get tough on crime"), and a long legacy of racial discrimination. Mauer makes many suggestions for a more humane and effective response to crime than the current "race to incarcerate." He concludes his book with the moving appeal to stop "caging the least fortunate among us to solve our problems." Read it!!