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Race, Incarceration, and American Values

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  79 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
The United States, home to five percent of the world's population, now houses twenty-five percent of the world's prison inmates. Our incarceration rate -- at 714 per 100,000 residents and rising -- is almost forty percent greater than our nearest competitors (the Bahamas, Belarus, and Russia). More pointedly, it is 6.2 times the Canadian rate and 12.3 times the rate in Jap ...more
Hardcover, 86 pages
Published September 1st 2008 by MIT Press (MA)
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Oct 11, 2010 Forest rated it it was amazing
Loury's work on this subject is essential for anyone interested in prisons or racial disparity in society. Reading his essay is like having cold water splashed in your face. Basically he presents the idea that the excessive and racially imbalanced rate of incarceration in the US is a collective moral failure on the part of middle/upper class citizens. Anybody that benefits from social policies that lead to the creation of crimogenic conditions in inner city neighborhoods (which is everyone not i ...more
Apr 28, 2016 Djaz rated it really liked it
For such a slim volume, it has a lot to say on race and incarceration. I would recommend reading this in tandem with Uprooting Racism and The New Jim Crow.
Rob Farkey
Feb 05, 2017 Rob Farkey rated it really liked it
A brief and lucid reminder of racial inequality and its human costs.

Written and published before the rise of BLM, a movement which Loury has since been critical of, there is much the current debate about race relations could learn from this introductory framing of incarceration in America and its moral (or immoral) underpinnings.

Loury begins by highlighting the stark rise in 'punitiveness' of American society, defined simply as the ratio between inmates and crime rates. A dramatic rise in the
Jan 17, 2011 Trent rated it it was ok
How do you rate a book when it's based on a philosophy fundamentally antithetical to one's own? Sure, with fiction you can criticize plot structure and character development etc. However, giving a book one star because you disagree with it's main tenants seems a tad unfair, no?.

So what does Loury actually espouse? For starters, a namby-pamby world view whereby the US has implemented a draconian sociopolitical penal system,; that the ethic of personal responsibility for one's behavior is an abho
Sep 13, 2011 Kony rated it really liked it
Teensy yet potent summary of the sad history, culture/politics, and economics of punitive crime policies in America. At the end, it adds a philosophical/moral dimension that's lacking, or underdeveloped, in most other accounts. Partly because the book's so tiny, it doesn't expand on the "values" part for very long, to my regret. Otherwise, it's a swift and accurate overview.

Loury's portion is followed by shorter pieces by 2 scholars, including Loic Wacquant. The Wacquant sampler is the best part
Spencer Riehl
Dec 13, 2016 Spencer Riehl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good digestible work

I enjoyed the multiple authors' contributions and the dialogue reading such a work impresses upon you. Much of the language was vague language, but overall quite good.
Bill Singer
Nov 13, 2012 Bill Singer rated it it was amazing
too short of a book. the "new jim crow" i expect to be longer a more in-depth
Oct 01, 2009 Heather rated it liked it
It's a tiny book, but really good for an intro to prisons and incarceration that isn't quite as extreme as Angela Davis. Plus, it's got a short essay by Loic Wacquant, who is really awesome.
Jul 28, 2015 xrayqa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Having listen to Lowry I can hear his voice in my head while reading this book. A tough subject that is getting increasingly more relevant.
Oct 05, 2009 AJ rated it really liked it
This is a pretty short book but would make a good primer for anyone interested in the topic.
Daniel Cunningham
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Nov 02, 2008
Robert Kirkconnell
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Bushra rated it it was amazing
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Corinna rated it really liked it
Nov 16, 2008
Ft. Sheridan
Jan 02, 2009 Ft. Sheridan rated it liked it
Apparently race and incarceration are connected. Who knew?
Vernon Doku
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