The Punishment Imperative Summary

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The Punishment Imperative, a book based on the transition from a time when punishment was thought to be necessarily harsh to a time where reform in the prion system is needed, explains the reasons why the grand social experiment of severe punishment did not work. The authors of the book, Todd R. Clear and Natasha A. Frost, strongly argue that the previous mindset of harsh punishment has been replaced due to political shifts, firsthand evidence, and spending issues within the government. Clear and Frost successfully assert their argument throughout the book using quantitative and qualitative information spanning from government policies to the reintegration of previous convicts into society. The strategy Clear and Frost mainly use throughout …show more content…

Increased tensions during the 1960s in the context of the Civil Rights Movement started to cause an increase in crime, sparking a newfound belief in incarcerating the masses to prevent more crime from occurring. During the 1970s, the likelihood of being incarcerated increased for nearly every citizen, especially low-level offenders. Clear and Frost thoroughly explain that the Punishment Imperative in the 1980s was caused by changes in government “policies and practices associated with the increasingly ubiquitous War on Drugs” (31). Changes in sentencing guidelines, mandatory minimum sentences, and three strikes legislation were though to be initially helpful in decreasing the rate of incarceration, but they proved to do the exact opposite. Policies also regarding reentry into society, access to education, public housing, and child custody for ex-convicts continued to play a major role in the increase in incarceration because newly released convicts had an extremely difficult time reintegrating into society. Clear and Frost continue to argue their point as they reach incapacitation in the 1990s, where they discuss how the government focused generally on increasing the lengths of stay within prisons instead of increasing the amount of people being incarcerated. Clear and Frost use quantitative data to explain the government policy called …show more content…

They explain three agendas that they believe will work in fixing the problem of mass incarceration, brought about by the Punishment Imperative. The first solution they offer is to make changes to minimum sentencing, especially for drugs, and to create structured sentencing systems to guide judicial discretion. The next agenda is to reduce the length of stay in prisons through parole, early release, and changes in sentencing strategies. The final agenda that Clear and Frost provide is to reduce recidivism by attempting to make it easier for released convicts to reintegrate into society. This is an effective way of supporting their argument because they are proving that the Punishment Imperative was ineffective and that their solutions will reverse the consequences brought about by

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how , todd r. clear and natasha a. frost, argue that the previous mindset of harsh punishment has been replaced by political shifts, firsthand evidence, and spending issues within the government.
  • Analyzes how clear and frost explain the punishment experiment, considering if it was effective or not, and giving solutions to fix it.
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