Decarcerating America

From Mass Punishment to Public Health
Edited by:

An all-star team of criminal justice experts present timely, innovative, and humane ways to end mass incarceration

“With voluminous data and meticulous analysis, [Drucker] persuasively demonstrates in his provocative new book that the unprecedented surge in incarceration in recent decades is a social catastrophe on the scale of the worst global epidemics.”
—Michelle Alexander, reviewing Ernest Drucker’s A Plague of Prisons in the Washington Post

Mass incarceration will end—there is an emerging consensus that we’ve been locking up too many people for too long. But with more than 2.2 million Americans behind bars right now, how do we go about bringing people home? Decarcerating America collects some of the leading thinkers in the criminal justice reform movement to strategize about how to cure America of its epidemic of mass punishment.

With sections on front-end approaches, improving prison conditions, and re-entry, the book includes pieces by leaders across the criminal justice reform movement: Danielle Sered of Common Justice describes successful programs for youth with violent offenses; Robin Steinberg of the Bronx Defenders argues for more resources for defense attorneys to diminish plea bargains; Kathy Boudin suggests changes to the parole model; Jeannie Little offers an alternative for mental health and drug addiction issues; Eric Lotke offers models of new industries to replace the prison economy; and editor Ernest Drucker applies the tools of epidemiology to help us cure what he calls “a plague of prisons.”

Decarcerating America will be an indispensable roadmap as the movement to challenge incarceration in America gains critical mass—it shows us how to get people out of prisons, and the more appropriate responses to crime. The ideas presented in this volume are what we are fighting for when we fight against the New Jim Crow.

Books by Ernest Drucker

A Plague of Prisons
The Epidemiology of Mass Incarceration in America

Ernest Drucker