CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Unah & Coggins on Mass Incarceration in the American States

Isaac Unah and Elizabeth Coggins (University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Department of Political Science and University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill) has posted Punishment Politics: Gubernatorial Rhetoric, Political Conflict, and the Instrumental Explanation of Mass Incarceration in the American States on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

The tension created by the drop in violent crime and the sustained increase in mass incarceration in the American states represents a phenomenon of great theoretical and policy relevance. Previous accounts of that tension have centered on theories of group conflict and instrumentalism. We argue here that the use of aggressive political rhetoric by state governors to communicate the crime problem is an important correlate of mass incarceration boom. Using data derived from content analysis of state-of-the-state addresses of governors from all 50 states, we test this rhetoric theory and evaluate its implications alongside instrumental and conflict-based explanations of mass incarceration. We find that gubernatorial rhetoric has strong effect on mass incarceration but that this effect is moderated by the institutional power of the governor. Instrumentalism is not supported. The key implication of our findings is that mass incarceration is overwhelmingly a policy consequence of the punitive political rhetoric employed by state leaders to exploit the crime problem and mobilize political support.

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since the legal industrial complex (prosecutors, defense, courts, etc...) directly benefits financially from the work done by the massive amounts of bounty hunters (police) put to work on the streets through their wildly successful public safety campaign efforts to get the taxpayer to fund all the bounty hunting on behalf of the legal industrial complex, there just might be a direct correlation to the incarceration rate. reduce the number of lawyers (legal system beneficiaries) demanding more and more new business, more and more revenue, and higher and higher profits, and you reduce the incarceration rate. academia pontificators should be cautioned not to tread to far on this subject as to step on the toes of the legal industrial complex mass taxpayer funded profiteering agenda.

Posted by: concernedcitizen | Jul 9, 2011 5:18:26 AM

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