Heather Schoenfeld, Building the Prison State: Race and the Politics of Mass Incarceration

AuthorPhil Goodman
Published date01 July 2019
Date01 July 2019
Subject MatterBook reviews
2017)—it also has significant control over sentencing policy, a power usually
reserved for state governments. These unique circumstances make it difficult to
systematically compare D.C. to other locales. Without such comparative cases,
scholars are limited in their ability to render theoretical generalizations or causal
models from D.C.’s unique experience. In other words, while the book is descrip-
tively engaging, it offers little in the way of theoretical explanation. These critiques
notwithstanding, Forman fills in important gaps in the history of mass incarcera-
tion and offers a sobering assessment of the difficult road ahead.
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Incarceration in America. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
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www.citylab.com/equity/2017/10/why-we-must-save-small-black-cities/543447/ (accessed
5 May 2018).
Pfaff J (2017) Locked in: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration and How to Achieve Real
Reform. New York: Basic Books.
Stevenson B (2014) Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. New York: Spiegel &
Wagner P and Rabuy B (2017) Mass incarceration: The whole pie 2017. Prison Policy
Initiative, 14 March. Available at: www.prisonpolicy.org/reports/pie2017.html (accessed
5 May 2018).
John Halushka
San Jose State University, USA
Heather Schoenfeld, Building the Prison State: Race and the Politics of Mass Incarceration,
The University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 2018; 352 pp. (including index): 978-
0226521015, $27 (pbk), $105 (cloth)
In a recent essay published on the occasion of this journal’s 20th anniversary,
David Garland argued that during the first decade or so of the nascent field of
“punishment and society” leading scholars managed to make splashes (so to speak)
Book reviews 379

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