More than 2.3 million people are incarcerated in federal, state, and local facilities as well as immigration detention centers. That’s approximately 21% of the world’s incarcerated population. Ironically, that number is large because America has more crime. It’s because it has more prisons.
It’s long been documented that the “war on crime” disproportionately targets minorities, specifically black people, which disproportionately constitute 34% of the prison population, though only 12% of the overall population. And incarceration doesn’t just impact them while they’re locked up. Post-release, people with criminal records face systematic discrimination when applying for jobs, housing, education and in many states, they are stripped of their voting rights.
Because of all the misinformation out there, we rounded up some great books that we think could act as a primer to understand how and why America developed its prison industrial complex and what it will take to dismantle the school to prison pipeline.
From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America by Elizabeth Hinton
Though many associate the rise of mass incarceration with the Nixon and Reagan administrations’ “tough on crime” policies, historian Elizabeth Hinton shows