The Problem of Violence and the Will to Punish

More than 2.2 million Americans are incarcerated. Hundreds of thousands of people (mostly men) are released from U.S. prisons each year to re-enter a world where they have failed before—with the added disadvantage of a prison record. More than two-thirds will be rearrested within three years and half will go back in prison. Bruce Western is Professor of Sociology and the Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Professor of Criminal Justice Policy. He is also the Faculty Chair of the Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management at the John F. Kennedy School of Government.  Western’s research broadly studies the relationship between political institutions and social and economic inequality. He has longstanding interests in criminal justice policy, incarceration, and the effects of incarceration on poor communities.  His research on economic inequality has analyzed labor unions and their effects on income inequality, and trends in income inequality and mobility in the United States.

Image courtesy of interviewee

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