Todd Clear's Imprisoning Communities

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INTRODUCTION: Todd Clear’s book Imprisoning Communities: How Mass Incarceration Makes Disadvantaged Neighborhoods Worse (2007) is an analytical look at the arrest and imprisonment rates of minorities and the effects on their neighborhood. Our nation’s prison population has continued to climb for nearly four decades, yet our crime rate has been dropping. He places an emphasis on how these high incarceration rates, usually from low social class neighborhoods, does more damage to the neighborhood than good. Clear then argues for policy changes that he believes would help the situation in these disadvantaged communities. Clear overall gives compelling information and reason to his theory of community justice and its application/effects, yet I cannot…show more content…
I can also agree with the idea of private and parochial social control as the ideas and moral values of my family will obviously play a large role in my productivity to society. Where I cannot entirely agree with Clear is his idea that social disorganization is a consequence and cause of crime. While it is a consequence, calling it one of the causes might be pushing the envelope a little too far. I could see how having a family member incarcerated could cause problems, if the family group is really an embodiment of private social control then that should keep other family members from committing a crime themselves. I feel Clear is in a way hypocritical to say that the family places social controls on each other but if one leaves then things fall apart. The social disorganization it causes upon re-entry I can also somewhat agree with. Clear makes mention that it is usually the family paying for the person’s bills, clothing, court costs, etc (Clear, 2007. p 132). It also can potentially cause job instability with the returning individual as it is obviously harder to find and maintain a steady job with a criminal…show more content…
He makes the argument of reducing sentences by a few months and gives the example of a 30 month sentence being reduced to 20 to 24 months (Clear, 2007. p 189) and then to the instances of “extremely long sentences” where a person has outgrown their criminally active years and suggests a chance at release in the prisoners 50’s (Clear, 2007. p 189). This is a part of the book where I entirely agree with Clear, If our nation has deemed the prison population a problem, why not release a person serving a 30 month sentence after 24 months or releasing a 55 year old prisoner who has served 30 years already (in extreme cases I would say otherwise to the release of these prisoners). I think he makes a good argument for both of these potential policy reforms before moving on to his main idea of “community justice”. Community justice in a nutshell, is improving that disadvantaged community Clear repeatedly referenced to. It takes on the “broken window” policing idea to a whole new extreme and even gives the idea of a probation officer being in charge of a community rather than an individual (Clear, 2007. p 202). Basically it is the idea of helping “make the places where people work, live, and raise their families good places to do these things” through different groups and programs for criminals (Clear, 2007. p 190). This idea would fix Clear’s idea of the “perfect storm” mentioned in chapter

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