Hustler USA January 2015 [PATCHED]
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In 2015, in the United States more than 7 million people--close to 3 percent of the nation's total population--were living under some form of penal control. Within this mass of unfree citizens, 2.2 million individuals, equaling the fourth largest city in the country, were confined in federal penitentiaries, state prisons, and local jails (Kaeble & Gaze 2016, 1). According to recent estimates, children born in 1990 of an African American father without a high school diploma face a 50 percent probability of experiencing the incarceration of their male parent before reaching age 14 (Wildeman 2009, 273). Black men born between 1975 and 1979 who did not graduate from high school had a 70 percent chance of spending some time in prison by age 35 (Western ScWildeman 2009, 231). As criminologist Bruce Western has illustrated, the cycle of imprisonment and reentry has become a "modal life event" for a vast population of marginalized Black and Latino youth, for whom the experience of incarceration has become more likely than such life-course milestones as getting married, attending college, or serving in the military (Western 2006, 20-32). This extreme concentration of the state's penal power among poor urban communities of color has led critical scholars to describe the historically unprecedented carceral expansion of the last few decades as the consolidation of a racialized paradigm of punitive governance of the poor in a neoliberal society increasingly fractured along lines of racial and class inequality (Alexander 2010; Tonry 2011; Wacquant 2009).
Yet the warehousing of America's poor men and women of color only illustrates one side of the current penal crisis, the other side of which is represented by the escalating issue of prisoner reentry. As penal expansion proceeded unabated between the mid-1970s and the early 2000s, both mainstream criminologists and "tough on crime" politicians systematically overlooked the circumstance that over 95 percent of prisoners are eventually released from prisons and face the arduous struggle of reintegrating--or more likely, trying to integrate for the first time--into the larger society (Petersilia 2003; Thompson 2008; Travis 2005). In 2015 alone, more than 641,000 people were released from federal and state prisons in the United States (Carson 8c Anderson 2016, 11)--an average of 1,700 each day, and these numbers do not include the more than 11 million individuals cycled each year through the true "rabble management" institutions that are local jails (Irwin 1985, ch. 1). 2b1af7f3a8