SOCIAL SCIENCES

Locked In: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration—and How To Achieve Real Reform

Basic. Feb. 2017. 320p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9780465096916. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780465096923. SOC SCI
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There has been much discussion over past years about the issue of mass incarceration and prison reform in the United States. Pfaff (law, Fordham Law Sch.) adds his voice by illuminating the underlying causes of the high incarceration rates and suggesting ideas for practical, long-lasting reform. Backing up his claims with statistics and well-researched facts, Pfaff challenges several commonly cited causes of high incarceration rates and growth (e.g., the war on drugs) and suggests other factors for this issue such as unchecked prosecutorial power. There are also discussions of topics such as public perception and "tough-on-crime" laws (for example, increasingly punitive public opinion); social, economical, and political challenges like uneven electoral representation of constituents; reform opportunities such as reducing time served by utilizing sentencing guidelines; and more.
VERDICT Timely and authoritative, Pfaff's discussion of mass incarceration provides a valuable and accessible addition to the prison reform narrative and an excellent analysis of the U.S. criminal justice system. Recommended for scholars and others interested in criminal justice and sociology.

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