By Ernest Drucker
While Dr. John Snow first traced an epidemic of cholera to a water pump within the Soho district of London in 1854, the sphere of epidemiology was once born. Taking an analogous public health and wellbeing techniques and instruments that experience effectively tracked epidemics of flu, tuberculosis, and AIDS over the intervening 100 and fifty years, Ernest Drucker makes the case that our present remarkable point of imprisonment has develop into an epidemic—a plague upon our physique politic.
Drucker, an the world over well-known public future health pupil and Soros Justice Fellow, spent two decades treating drug habit and one other twenty learning AIDS in many of the poorest neighborhoods of the South Bronx and around the world. He
compares mass incarceration to different, well-recognized epidemics utilizing easy public overall healthiness strategies: “prevalence and incidence,” “outbreaks,” “contagion,” “transmission,” and “potential years of existence lost.”
He argues that imprisonment—originally conceived as a reaction to individuals’ crimes—has develop into mass incarceration: a destabilizing strength that undermines the households and groups it objectives, destructive the very social buildings that hinder crime.
Sure to impress debate, this booklet shifts the paradigm of the way we expect approximately punishment via demonstrating that our unparalleled charges of incarceration have the contagious and self-perpetuating good points of the plagues of earlier centuries.
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Extra info for A Plague of Prisons: The Epidemiology of Mass Incarceration in America
Yet the facts about current-day American incarceration are stark. S. 8 If this population had their own city, it would be the secondlargest in the country. 1. S. S. prison population grew apace with the general population (averaging about 125 prisoners per 100,000 population) until 1975, when there were about 250,000 people in jails and prisons. Then it climbed sharply, reaching over 2 million prisoners by 2006—a historic peak rate of nearly 750 per 100,000. Source: Justice Policy Institute; Heather Couture, Paige M.
The magnitude of our prison system has effectively made this country the world champion of incarceration. Today the United States has the highest rate of imprisonment of any nation in the world—possibly the highest rate in the history of any nation. S. 2. S. rate of incarceration is the highest in the world—756 per 100,000—a rate more than seven times that of European Union countries and greater than that of Russia or South Africa. Source: International Centre for Prison Studies, Kings College London.
Or is it a problem in its own right? How can we assess the significance of mass incarceration in America? Here is where the tools of epidemiology can help. By looking more closely at the data on imprisonment in the United States through the lens of public health, we can begin to parse the prison epidemic. Is crime really the source of epidemic-level imprisonment, or is something else driving this phenomenon? As is always the goal in public health, can we also understand enough about mass incarceration to learn how to contain and eradicate this modern plague?
A Plague of Prisons: The Epidemiology of Mass Incarceration in America by Ernest Drucker