Mass Jail Incarceration and Its Consequences

Authored by: Joshua C. Cochran , Elisa L. Toman

Handbook on the Consequences of Sentencing and Punishment Decisions

Print publication date:  August  2018
Online publication date:  August  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138608931
eBook ISBN: 9780429466380
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9780429466380-15

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Abstract

The dramatic expansion of the prison system in the United States has led to a burgeoning body of research on the effects and collateral consequences linked to incarceration (e.g., Rose & Clear, 2003; Visher et al., 2004; Turanovic et al., 2012; Mears & Cochran, 2015). This research, however, has largely overlooked the consequences of jail incarceration. Lack of systematic research attention to jail experiences and their effects is anomalous in part because jails admit substantially more individuals than prisons annually, experiences had in jail may be especially adverse, and jails may have more disadvantageous consequences for already disadvantaged groups (e.g., Western, 2006; Wakefield & Uggen, 2010). Against this backdrop, the goal of this chapter is twofold. First, the chapter makes the case that “mass jail incarceration” presents unique dilemmas, challenges, and impacts and thus deserves substantially greater research attention. Second, this chapter constructs a conceptual framework that aims to push forward a research agenda that seeks to uncover the effects and collateral consequences of time spent in jail. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the potential implications of and barriers to developing a better understanding of jail and its consequences.

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