What According to Prison State Are the Consequences of Mass Incarceration for Neighborhoods That Are Most Affected and the Larger State Where These Communities Are Located
Clear had previously argued that incarceration, when conceived of as a crime control policy, might backfire and actually increase crime. He identified at least three reasons why we might expect a backfire effect: (1) recruitment of increasing numbers of young people to replace those incarcerated offenders; (2) the diminishing deterrent effect of incarceration as more and more people experience prison, and (3) the effects that removing people from communities might have on social factors (broken families, increasing inequality, and social disorder) related to crime in those communities. This was an early exposition of the thesis that Rose and Clear would then develop focusing primarily on Clear’s third effect of incarceration – its impact on the fabric of communities. The purpose of this project has been to estimate the impact of “prison cycling”—the flow into and out of prison--on crime rates in communities, with special concern about areas that have high rates of prison cycling. It is well documented that the increase in incarceration nationally over the last 40 years was a factor in the decade-long crime drop seen at the national level, though the size of that impact is much debated among social scientists. It is equally well-known that the rate of incarceration of an area’s residents also has a range of impacts on the crime rates of these “prison cycling” areas.
Those who have spent significant time in prison may find adjusting to changes that have occurred in society and their specific communities to be stressful, particularly if family support is lacking (Aday RH, 1994). Furthermore, older adults with a history of incarceration are more likely to suffer from abuse and neglect due to lack of family support when compared to their younger counterparts.
Such action, along with eliminating society’s over use of prisons to confront social problems, will substantially reduce the effects of the collateral consequences from incarceration and coercive mobility on communities of color.
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