Historical Trends in Punishment and the Lens of American Federalism

Authored by: Michael C. Campbell , Paige E. Vaughn

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:


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In Chapter 1, Michael C. Campbell and Paige E. Vaughn outline some of the most important trends in criminalization and punishment over the past three decades with a key emphasis on macro state-level trends. They describe how the growth in legal sanctions contributed to the rise of mass incarceration by criminalizing more behaviors and imposing new laws and policies that required longer prison stays. The chapter also includes a nuanced historical introduction to the rise of mass incarceration, a critical read for those new to this area of research. The authors conclude with a nuanced discussion on how the changes in legislation and policy have reinforced inequalities in the criminal justice system.

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