The Epidemiology of Mass Incarceration

Monday, December 05, 2011

Public health scholar and Soros Justice Fellow Ernest Drucker argues that imprisonment has become an epidemic in this country, a destabilizing force that undermines families and communities, damaging the very social structures that prevent crime. Drucker spent 20 years treating drug addiction and another 20 studying AIDS in some of the poorest neighborhoods of the South Bronx and the world, and he uses the public health and epidemiological concepts in his book A Plague of Prisons: The Epidemiology of Mass Incarceration in America.


Ernest Drucker

Comments [17]

Income Inequality and Incarceration Rate. from Anyone see the connection ?

According to the OECD :

"The United States is the country with the highest inequality level and poverty rate across the OECD, Mexico and Turkey excepted."

We also have the highest incarceration rate in the world.

We have also been facing rapidly decreasing freedom and rights.
Our society is under vastly increased constant surveillance - unprecidented outside of authoritarian governments.

Does anyone see a connection here ?

What are the 0.1 % willing to do to preserve their ill-gotten gains ?

Are they destroying our country ?

Dec. 05 2011 10:46 PM
Vane Lashua from Beacon, NY

As Ernest Drucker implied in his visit with you, legalization of marijuana could result in savings of $billions. Who has published evidence convincing enough to get a majority in Congress to vote to make a huge impact on federal, state and local budgets? By adding special taxes on its sale, as done with gasoline, alcohol and cigarettes would enhance revenues.

Another cash flow improvement could be made in Afghanistan. According to the UN, the export value of opium from Afghanistan is around $3.5Billion. It seems to me that someone could make a lot of friends and save $hundreds of billions on war by simply buying the whole crop directly from the farmers ... or the warlords ... and dumping it in the ocean.

Dec. 05 2011 02:26 PM
David from SI

Ernest Drucker is just another example of teachers who make pathetic excuses for illegal behavior. Put them in military training camps, for obviously there is no teaching of responsibility in the home.

Dec. 05 2011 02:09 PM
john from office

This is the best pro choice argument I have ever heard.

Dec. 05 2011 01:52 PM
Faith S. from NYC

One possible reason for the increase in incarcerations is that the jails are now privatized and the jailers may be lobbying to keep the situation status quo.

Dec. 05 2011 01:51 PM
john from office

Vladimir from Siberia
Are you for real, I love the tag.

Dec. 05 2011 01:50 PM
john from office

Look into the recent Columbia frat house arrest for coke dealing. Upper middle class drug dealer got treatment and no record.

Money talks. Remember Robert Zacarro Junior, He got arrested and now practices law in Virginia

Dec. 05 2011 01:48 PM
Vladimir from Siberia

In my country the testicles would be removed from these Cossacks who do the drugs!

Dec. 05 2011 01:47 PM
Andy from Brooklyn

A discussion of prisons is nothing without mentioning the private corrections lobby. Especially the lobbying efforts to build detention centers for illegal immigrants.

Dec. 05 2011 01:47 PM
Jamie from Manhattan

The "school" in the Great Barrington case was actually an A.M. preschool in a church basement.

Dec. 05 2011 01:47 PM
Doug from Brooklyn

It ought to be noted that the 1980's drug laws were sponsored and promoted by prison companies as reported by NPR. Similarly, as reported by This American Life, the current immigration laws are written by (and for) prison companies. As ever ask, "Qui bono?"

Dec. 05 2011 01:44 PM
Melanie from Brooklyn

Most Americans have no idea how high our incarceration rates are. It is shocking--and negatively affect our neighborhoods that already struggle so much--lower income, underserved communities, people of color who still face discrimination daily. Thank you, Mr. Drucker, for helping to educate us.

Dec. 05 2011 01:40 PM
paul feinberg from Harlem

Methadone is much harder to detox from than heroin.

Dec. 05 2011 01:38 PM
Jenna from LES

My family lives in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania. They live in a town with a maximum security males prison, a state female prison, and a minimum security federal prison all within in miles. The thing that is never discussed is the amount of jobs these prisons create. In the area these the ONLY work for people.

Much like healthcare I really think the "for-profit" part of this epidemic needs to be on our minds.

Dec. 05 2011 01:34 PM
The Truth from Becky

*sp - rehabilitating

Dec. 05 2011 01:29 PM
The Truth from Becky

Are they really rehabilitation anyone anymore? and how many of those aid cases are as a result of prison rape? How exactly do they handle prison rape cases?

Dec. 05 2011 01:29 PM
Kevin from Spanish Harlem

Correction: The US has THE highest rate of incarceration in the world.

Dec. 05 2011 01:26 PM

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