cybersource 4 - Alicia Deal CJ 530 Cyber source 4 The Macho...

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Alicia Deal 04-21-04 CJ 530 Cyber source 4 The Macho Penal Economy Mass Incarceration on the US-A European Perspective David Downes This article raises issues about the American criminal justice system from the European point of view. Specifically, Downes addresses the practice of mass incarceration in the US and its subsequent response in Europe. Like Irwin and Austin, Downes is troubled and apprehensive about the allure of mass imprisonment, yet he is more concerned about how it is being adopted by many European nations as a solution to growing crime problems. Downes notes how US crime rates have “leveled off and recently fallen,” yet the crime rates in some European countries have risen. Interestingly, for some European nations the rates of property crime has surpassed US rates. Only a quarter of inmates are imprisoned for violent offenses in the US. Therefore, crime is not seen as the cause for mass imprisonment. European countries that have experienced this rise in crime rates that equal US crime rates believe that it is unsettling and are alarmed, while Americans assume that it is “reassuring.” Although many criminologists asserted that “deterrence and incapacitation would not, except at an unacceptably high human and financial cost, serve significantly to reduce crime,” the US government has appealed to other nations that prison does “work.” It supposedly accomplishes this by keeping the criminals off the streets and by “showing how a deregulated capitalism can have its cake and eat it: a market economy can produce a market society without a rocketing crime rate.” Leon Radzinowicz calls this phenomenon “penal regression.” He notes how mass imprisonment effects employment. For example in the US, its prison population accounts for 2% of the total male labor force. “This factor alone has reduced the official figure for male unemployment by some 30-40 percent since the early 1990s.” Moreover, this figure is used by experts to signify the “superiority of the deregulated economy of the USA compared with the more corporatist economies of Western Europe.”
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Alicia Deal 04-21-04 CJ 530 Cyber source 4 Only recently have some European countries, including the Netherlands, begun to embrace mass incarceration as a solution to crime.
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