Book Signing With Tim Anderson

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Book Signing With Tim Anderson
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The United States of Incarceration

The Criminal Justice Assault on Minorities, the Poor, and the Mentally ill

Reviewed by Howard Lovy
April 8, 2015

The United States of Incarceration is a valuable arms cache for those who want to engage in the war on mass incarceration.

The United States of Incarceration, by Tim Anderson, soberly and effectively gives ammunition to a growing number of people and organizations from a range of political perspectives who agree that US criminal justice reform is necessary. Anderson effectively establishes reasons why the current system amounts to, as the book’s subtitle says, an “assault on minorities, the poor, and the mentally ill.” He does this in a way that is more effective than fiery rhetoric—he uses facts.

The author has great insight not only into the problem of mass incarceration, but also the philosophical and practical underpinnings that have prevented any solution for decades. A kind of blending of competing agendas—between neoliberals and neoconservatives—made reform a political no-go. Neoconservatives advocate small government, yet strength abroad, which then translates into a show of strength at home and the increased militarization of local police forces. Neoliberalism has taken on different meanings over the past century and primarily refers to economic policies, but one side effect is limited government involvement in markets. This has led to the rise of private prison companies that do not answer directly to voters.

These factors combine to create what is popularly, and accurately, described as the “prison-industrial complex.” This system of self-perpetuating job creation and false feeling that society is safer under a draconian criminal justice system has devastated communities far beyond the huge numbers of individual people incarcerated. It has not made us safer, nor has it reduced crime.

Soberly, Anderson describes how the effect of mass incarceration is intergenerational, cumulative, and hidden
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By: Komfort Zone LLC