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The Failed Experiment of Mass Incarceration

Criminal justice experts propose a better response to crime.

Virtual Event
  • Lauren-Brooke Eisen
  • ,
  • Khalil Cumberbatch
  • ,
  • Nkechi Taifa
  • Jeremy Travis
headshots of event speakers

The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world, a dubious distinction with grave social consequences. Most of the more than 1 million Americans in prison — disproportionately low-income people of color — will return to their communities after serving long sentences with few resources and little support. Recidivism rates remain stubbornly high. The criminal justice system, then, fails to produce public safety even as core values such as equality, fairness, and proportionality have fallen by the wayside.

The new book, Excessive Punishment: How the Justice System Creates Mass Incarceration, edited by the Brennan Center’s Lauren-Brooke Eisen, features essays from scholars, practitioners, activists, writers who experienced incarceration, and others. The contributors explore the social costs of excessive punishment and how to ensure public safety without perpetuating the harms of mass incarceration.

Join us virtually on Wednesday, April 17, at 3 p.m. ET for a live event to hear from several of the book’s contributors. They will discuss why the U.S. criminal justice system is so punitive and what alternatives could rebalance it.  


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