07 July 2010

Trends in Incarceration

I'm working my way through a set of lectures from UC Berkley which were created for a class called "Punishment, Culture and Society." So far, there's nothing too shocking in it; it's pretty much an overview of philosophy and results of incarceration. Much of it is stuff that those who work in the criminal justice system, and have put some thought into it, probably have worked out for ourselves. Although, it is interesting to hear the lecturer link theories with particular persons and fill in some of the statistical background.

So far, the thing which has popped out at me the most is the chart above. It is very interesting that as the mental wards were geared down the prisons geared up. I'm sure that most of us who have worked in criminal law for any period of time know that there are a number of people with mental problems who end up in jails and prisons. I'm just not sure that many of us suspected it is as bad as this chart seems to indicate.

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