During the past 25 years, the prison population in America shot upward to reach a staggering 1.53 million by 2005. This book takes a broad, critical look at incarceration, the huge social experiment of American society. The authors investigate the causes and consequences of the prison buildup, often challenging previously held notions from scholarly and public discourse. By examining such themes as social discontent, safety and security within prisons, and the impact on crime and on the labour market, Piehl and Useem use evidence to address the inevitable larger question, where should incarceration go next for American society, and where is it likely to go?
In The Press
"In Prison State, Bert Useem and Anne Morrison Piehl take on the social and penological critiques and alarms over the increase of imprisonment in the US. Through a meticulous evidence-based exploration, they seek to go beyond conventional wisdom and provide much needed empirical data on the causes and consequences of the US prison buildup.... Prison State is original and stands out in a sea of scholarly work on prison growth." - Canadian Journal of Sociology