The Beguiling Myth of “Mass Incarceration”
It is not surprising that those at opposite poles of the ideological spectrum generally view public policy issues—and proposed solutions—differently. What is surprising is when conservatives adopt the rhetoric of the Left (along with the accompanying narratives, memes, and canards) regarding a subject as important as criminal justice.
Many “reform conservatives” have done just that, as evidenced by Prison Break, a new book by David Dagan and Steven M. Teles (the latter of whom authored The Rise of the Conservative Legal Movement in 2008). The subtitle of Prison Break—“Why Conservatives Turned Against Mass Incarceration”—gives away the punch line. The change of heart on the part of idealistic reformers is unsupported by data (which I’ll get to below), making it disappointing as well.
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