From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America

From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America

by Elizabeth Hinton


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Co-Winner of the Thomas J. Wilson Memorial Prize
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice
A Wall Street Journal Favorite Book of the Year
A Choice Outstanding Academic Title of the Year
A Publishers Weekly Favorite Book of the Year

In the United States today, one in every thirty-one adults is under some form of penal control, including one in eleven African American men. How did the “land of the free” become the home of the world’s largest prison system? Challenging the belief that America’s prison problem originated with the Reagan administration’s War on Drugs, Elizabeth Hinton traces the rise of mass incarceration to an ironic source: the social welfare programs of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society at the height of the civil rights era.

“An extraordinary and important new book.”
—Jill Lepore, New Yorker

“Hinton’s book is more than an argument; it is a revelation…There are moments that will make your skin crawl…This is history, but the implications for today are striking. Readers will learn how the militarization of the police that we’ve witnessed in Ferguson and elsewhere had roots in the 1960s.”
—Imani Perry, New York Times Book Review

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674979826
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 09/04/2017
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 186,157
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Elizabeth Hinton is Assistant Professor of History and African and African American Studies at Harvard University.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Origins of Mass Incarceration 1

1 The War on Black Poverty 27

2 Law and Order in the Great Society 63

3 The Preemptive Strike 96

4 The War on Black Crime 134

5 The Battlegrounds of the Crime War 180

6 Juvenile Injustice 218

7 Urban Removal 250

8 Crime Control as Urban Policy 276

9 From the War on Crime to the War on Drugs 307

Epilogue: Reckoning with the War on Crime 333

Notes 343

Acknowledgments 433

Index 437

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