From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America

From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime The Making of Mass Incarceration in America In the United States today one in every adults is under some form of penal control including one in eleven African American men How did the land of the free become the home of the world s largest

  • Title: From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America
  • Author: Elizabeth Hinton
  • ISBN: 9780674737235
  • Page: 227
  • Format: Hardcover
  • From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America

    In the United States today, one in every 31 adults is under some form of penal control, including one in eleven African American men How did the land of the free become the home of the world s largest prison system Challenging the belief that America s prison problem originated with the Reagan administration s War on Drugs, Elizabeth Hinton traces the rise of mass incaIn the United States today, one in every 31 adults is under some form of penal control, including one in eleven African American men How did the land of the free become the home of the world s largest prison system Challenging the belief that America s prison problem originated with the Reagan administration s War on Drugs, Elizabeth Hinton traces the rise of mass incarceration to an ironic source the social welfare programs of Lyndon Johnson s Great Society at the height of the civil rights era.Johnson s War on Poverty policies sought to foster equality and economic opportunity But these initiatives were also rooted in widely shared assumptions about African Americans role in urban disorder, which prompted Johnson to call for a simultaneous War on Crime The 1965 Law Enforcement Assistance Act empowered the national government to take a direct role in militarizing local police Federal anti crime funding soon incentivized social service providers to ally with police departments, courts, and prisons Under Richard Nixon and his successors, welfare programs fell by the wayside while investment in policing and punishment expanded Anticipating future crime, policy makers urged states to build new prisons and introduced law enforcement measures into urban schools and public housing, turning neighborhoods into targets of police surveillance.By the 1980s, crime control and incarceration dominated national responses to poverty and inequality The initiatives of that decade were less a sharp departure than the full realization of the punitive transformation of urban policy implemented by Republicans and Democrats alike since the 1960s.

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    One thought on “From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America

    1. Mehrsa

      If you liked the New Jim Crow, you will love this academic re-telling of that story. Hinton rejects the simple narrative that the war on crime came under Nixon and Reagan, but shows that it started creeping in with Kennedy and Johnson. The book shows how the poverty programs were coopted by law enforcement immediately. A must-read.

    2. Charlene

      If you are only going to read one book on mass incarceration and inequality, you should read The New Jim Crow by Michele Alexander. However, if you would like to read additional books on the subject, I definitely recommend this one. Hinton's book goes back farther in time to recount the history of of the war on poverty, masked as the war on crime. While the beginning of the book did not grab me right away, I was really appreciative of Hinton's focus on the academic liberal's depiction of black p [...]

    3. Peter Mcloughlin

      Book covers the growth of Law Enforcement and early trends in the militarization of police, increase of incarceration in both sentences and number of inmates, and the eclipsing of the war on poverty by the war on crime. The scope of this book is up until Reagan and the period most people associate with these trends. This book shows that this was going on earlier than most historians recognize. Granted mass incarceration in the 80s and 90s overshadows that of the 60s and 70s but the trend got sta [...]

    4. Chris Jaffe

      I wanted to like this book more than I actually did like it. This left me largely flat. I think that’s largely because of the focus: academic tomes that focus heavily on the bureaucratic process of Washington DC and legislative back-and-forth are never my favorites. Yeah, it’s a legitimate way of exploring topics, but it also feels lifeless. Some of my favorite parts here are when Hinton gets into specific examples, such as police programs in Detroit or LA and the impact that had on communit [...]

    5. Nicky

      This was a good but sad book. I think it’s important to know this information, but nevertheless, it was a hard read for that reason.

    6. Edward Sullivan

      An important contribution to the history of mass incarceration, the focus here on federal policies beginning in the 1960s.

    7. Daf

      In the middle of the 1960s, even as the black civil rights movement was winning landmark victories such as the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, LBJ called for a "War on Crime", sowing the seeds for new systems of black control and oppression. Increasing crime rates became conflated with black protest, and a notion of a deep-rooted pathology in black communities took hold, initiating a pattern of focusing crime interventions in black urban environments. Flawed crime statistics and flaw [...]

    8. Jo Stafford

      Elizabeth Hinton packs a great deal of information into this academic analysis of criminal justice policies and programs implemented by administrations from Kennedy to Reagan, with special emphasis on how Johnson's War on Poverty became subsumed by the War on Crime. This is an insightful examination of deeply flawed policies, of a lack of imagination at the highest levels of government, of a reluctance to grapple with the underlying socioeconomic causes of crime, and of the consequent racist cri [...]

    9. Luke

      Tough dive into the policy and policing of crime from the 60s to the 80s, very much addressing the same ground as Michelle Alexander (but as a political history rather than legal polemic) of how we constructed black criminality and accepted a fatalist view that society's only hope for law and order amid urban poverty and unrest was a permanent and increasing supervision and incarceration of our unemployed minorities. Federal policy lies at the root, with both good and ill intentions.

    10. Vakil

      This is an excellent book and should be read by all Americans. Professor Hinton does a magnificent job tracking how the Great Society very quickly was subsumed by the war on crime. She especially does well tracking the evolution of what can only be described as a war on poor African American citizens, tracking the various programs, laws, and departments whose design seems to have been primarily to punish minorities. She doesn't pull partisan punches, and the willingness of Democrats and liberals [...]

    11. Robert S

      The era of mass incarceration and the rise of the carceral state in today's America was not an accident, rather it is the culmination of over forty years of bi-partisan actions by state and Washington policymakers that has led us to our current predicament. Hinton examines the origins, from JFK's "Great Frontier" anti-delinquency policies through LBJ's "War on Poverty" and beyond.Mandatory minimum sentencing, "three strikes" laws, militarization of police forces through federal block grants, the [...]

    12. Nick Van Brunt

      Elizabeth Hinton’s incredibly well-sourced and surprisingly accessible text (given the depth of the treatment of the subject matter) leads to the following convincing take away: Mass incarceration, and specifically the disproportionate (and seemingly logarithmic growth in imprisonment rates for African-Americans over the course of the latter half of twentieth-century) were not simply a result of the war on drugs, though that played a factor. Drawing on the racist assumptions of the Moynihan Re [...]

    13. Ietrio

      A very interesting and needed book about the expansion of state power and state sanctioned violence. The book has some shortcomings and blind spots, as pointed out in this review in Reason magazine (reason/archives/2017/01/2). Sadly the article is unfair and written by an informed, yet shallow mind. See the conclusion of Thaddeus Russell of Reason magazine: "Even if we freed all black and Latino inmates tomorrow, the United States would have the fourth-largest prison population in the world. " W [...]

    14. Noel

      Wow, the stats and the facts intertwined with the authors point of view, makes a strong and compelling narrative. A new perspective (sad and depressing) on criminal laws and how we ended up where we are.

    15. Post1000Tension

      An astounding book that lays out the groundwork for understanding the history and continuation of American mass incarceration. Densely argued and researched. One of the best books I've ever read.

    16. Ann

      Excellent book--I only wish Hinton would've also discussed how Reagan's administration was responsible for bringing in crack cocaine to LA via Nicaragua (Iran-Contra scandal).

    17. Michael

      An excellent treatment of this history of the entanglement of crime and poverty in the United States, guided by racist attitudes.

    18. Wesley Ward

      The historical context that Michelle Alexander missed is stated plainly here. As opposed to taking the reading through the criminal justice process, from first interaction with police to post-release, Hinton journeys through the policy decisions, rhetoric, and intentions starting with Johnson's War on Poverty and the Civil Rights Movement through the end of the Reagan presidency. She merely mentions the War on Drugs created by the Reagan administration. Hinton's focus is on the specifics of the [...]

    19. Anna

      I have to give this 4 stars for being a really in-depth look at the history of crime and social welfare policy in the United States. And it manages to be pretty readable despite going into a lot of detail. With that being said, there are definitely some moments where I think the author makes some claims without fully backing them up, with is odd because 99% of the book is well-sourced and it's obviously meticulously researched.

    20. Jonathan

      An excellent, well-researched, and highly relevant book on the history that traces the rise of mass incarceration in the US from the mid-1960s to the early 1990s through various political decisions on the federal as well as state level. Hinton shows how punitive and invasive "crime control" policies were passed amidst the Great Society and relied on a pathologizing of black male criminality, misuse of crime statistics, as well as other political motivations (such as a loathness to upset existing [...]

    21. Rick

      There is a great book waiting to be written about the transformation of policing in the 1960s, but this is not it. This limply argued book never quite proves its thesis--that the social programs of the Great Society were of a piece with Nixon's War on Crime. Surely there is continuity--Daniel Patrick Moynihan and fellow thinkers built both programs, and Moynihan and ilk also shared questionable ideas about race. But Hinton does not sell any argument less obvious than that one--despite repeating [...]

    22. Charles Rotramel

      I am a youth service professional and the CEO of a youth-serving non-profit. This is the very best book I have read on the era of mass incarceration. Elizabeth Hinton has written the seminal history of our time and has connected the dots on all of the policy and political decisions that created our current situation where more people are incarcerated today than at any time in the history of the world. It gets to the heart of poverty, race, and class in America. This book is an essential text for [...]

    23. Margaret

      Incredibly detailed, thorough recounting of the rise of mass incarceration from the Kennedy administration through Reagan's War on Drugs. Hinton demonstrates over and over again how policies that emphasized potential criminals effectively criminalized entire low-income African American communities and created criminal records and more crime. The book is exhaustively researched and includes some wonderful anecdotes, especially during the Nixon administration which "fought" crime while actively en [...]

    24. Norm

      The memoirs of this nuclear country living its American Dream in Negro Country - a uniquely inhuman portrait of a nuclear nation that speaks deeply about our age of nuclear innocence still today, from the perspective of ghetto planning most recently going nuclear in North Carolina, via Ferguson.

    25. Rallie

      Extremely well written and researched, this book deserves a prominent place in the social science of prisons, policing, and the American state.

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