Introduction: The Meaning of Mass Imprisonment Next Chapter

David Garland

In: Mass Imprisonment: Social Causes and Consequences

Chapter : Introduction: The Meaning of Mass Imprisonment

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Introduction: The Meaning of Mass Imprisonment
Introduction: The meaning of mass imprisonment

The contributors to this volume have used the term ‘mass imprisonment’ to describe the institution that has emerged in the United States over the past two decades. Current government estimates suggest that, in the course of the present year, the total number of inmates incarcerated in America's jails and prisons will exceed 2,000,000 for the first time ever. This is an unprecedented event in the history of the USA and, more generally, in the history of liberal democracy.

For most of the 20th century, America's imprisonment rate fluctuated around a stable mean of about 110 per 100,000. In 1973 the rate began to increase and it has continued to increase in every single year since. ...

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