Correctional Theory

Readings: please apply the following reading to thequestions provided as well as other sources

Number the questions being answered


Addicted to Incarceration: Corrections Policy and Politicsof Misinformation in the United States (2009). Travis Pratt



  • Chapter 1: Introduction: The Politics and Consequences of Incarceration
  • Chapter 2: The Politics of Punishment in the United States


  • Chapter 3: Misinformation about the Crime Problem
  • Chapter 4: Misinformation About Public Opinion



              Please address both questions below, bringing in thetexts as well as your own professional experiences to support yourwriting. 

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In Chapter 3, Pratt examines the misconceptions about the natureof crime in the United States has served as political fodder for advocates ofmass incarceration. He outlines three main misconceptions. What are those misconceptions?Explain why he believes each is actually a misconception and not actuallyreflective of the crime problems in the United States.

  1. In Chapter 4, Pratt discusses the global and specific attitudes of Americans towards punishment. What are the differences between these two perspectives? Which perspective has been guiding American penal philosophy since the 1970s and why has that perspective been predominate? Why?




  • Chapter 5: Misinformation about Prisons and Crime Control
  • Chapter 6: The Social Costs and Consequences of Incarceration
  • Chapter 7: Conclusions and Recommendations


Discuss at least two of the questions below andengage with your classmates on their input.

In Chapter 5, Pratt discusses the effectivenessof prisons in reducing crime. He says that policy makers claims of massivereductions in crime that can be attributed to the expansion of the prisonpopulation are patently false. Why? Does your own experience support Pratt'sposition? Explain why or why not. 

2.    Why should the grayingof the prison population play a role in developing incarceration policy?

  1. Does the privatization of prisons cause any concerns for social justice in the United States?
  2. Pratt argues that drug use should be viewed as a public health concern rather than criminal concern. Provide an argument against that shift in perspective.



The Punishment Imperative: The Rise and Failureof Mass Incarceration in America (2014). Todd Clear andNatasha Frost.


Clearand Frost

  • Chapter 1
  • Chapter 2

Clearand Frost

  • Chapter 3: The Punishment Imperative as a Grand Social Experiment
  • Chapter 4: The policies of the Punishment Imperative


Please address two of thequestions below, bringing in the texts as well as your ownprofessional experiences. Work to keep the conversation alive this week.

5.    In chapter 1, Clear andFrost offer some reasons why the incarcerated population appears to be shrinkingat the time of publication. Explain their rational and whether you agree withtheir conclusions.

  1. In chapter 2, Clear and Frost provide evidence that scholars prior to the 1970s believed that prisons were quickly becoming obsolete. What are the factors that led to these predictions being so wrong?
  2. This chapter suggests that crime might be conceived as both an input of prison and an output of prison. What does this mean?
  3. In chapter 3, Clear and Frost suggest that the Punishment Imperative is a grand social experiment. What do they mean by this?


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