Mass Incarceration: Societal Challenges


  • Social Justice demands an understanding of the attitudes, beliefs, systems, structures, and institutions that devalue the worth and dignity of any person.
  • Mass incarceration plays a significant role in that devaluation because it isolates prisoners in an alternate reality, eschews rehabilitation in favor of punishment, and operates as a major racist institution.
  •  Prisons have achieved limited success with correcting antisocial behavior with mass incarceration. The nation’s consistently high recidivism rate also shows that many of its returning citizens are unprepared for reentry.
  •  The effects of long-term incarceration on a returning citizen’s ability to manage reentry are not well known and information about the effects is rarely based upon research-supported data.
  •  Major changes in the world outside prison walls are occurring at increasingly rapid rates and the impact of these changes increases dramatically as sentences lengthen.
  • The society to which former prisoners return includes structural threats that increase returning citizens’ risk of recidivism.