Front cover image for From the war on poverty to the war on crime : the making of mass incarceration in America

From the war on poverty to the war on crime : the making of mass incarceration in America

Elizabeth Kai Hinton (Author)
In the United States, one in every 31 adults is under some form of penal control, including one in eleven African American men. How did the "land of the free" become the home of the world's largest prison system? Challenging the belief that America's prison problem originated with the Reagan administration's War on Drugs, the author traces the rise of mass incarceration to an ironic source: the social welfare programs of Lyndon Johnson's Great Society at the height of the civil rights era. Johnson's War on Poverty policies sought to foster equality and economic opportunity. But these initiatives were also rooted in widely shared assumptions about African Americans' role in urban disorder, which prompted Johnson to call for a simultaneous War on Crime. The 1965 Law Enforcement Assistance Act empowered the national government to take a direct role in militarizing local police. Federal anticrime funding soon incentivized social service providers to ally with police departments, courts, and prisons. Under Richard Nixon and his successors, welfare programs fell by the wayside while investment in policing and punishment expanded. Anticipating future crime, policy makers urged states to build new prisons and introduced law enforcement measures into urban schools and public housing, turning neighborhoods into targets of police surveillance. By the 1980s, crime control and incarceration dominated national responses to poverty and inequality. The initiatives of that decade were less a sharp departure than the full realization of the punitive transformation of urban policy implemented by Republicans and Democrats alike since the 1960s. -- Adapted from publisher's description
eBook, English, 2016
Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2016
1 online resource (449 pages) : illustrations
9780674969223, 0674969227
Introduction : origins of mass incarceration
The war on Black poverty
Law and order in the Great Society
The preemptive strike
The war on Black crime
The battlegrounds of the crime war
Juvenile injustice
Urban removal
Crime control as urban policy
From the war on crime to the war on drugs
Epilogue : reckoning with the war on crime
Electronic reproduction, [Place of publication not identified], HathiTrust Digital Library, 2011