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Mass Incarceration: Mass Incarceration

Definition - Reference Resources

"The Sentencing Project, a non-profit and non-partisan research organization focused on incarceration reform, released a report in 2009 entitled “The Changing Racial Dynamics of the War on Drugs,” in which the authors discuss how drug policy contributed to the nation's incarceration crisis. According to the report, the increasingly punitive policies of the 1980s, which focused heavily on mandatory sentences for drug offenses, led to a massive increase in incarceration rates over time. While the prison population sat at around 40,000 in 1980, by 2009 the number had increased 1100 percent to nearly 500,000. Further, the report notes that the number of persons incarcerated for drug offenses in 2009 was higher than the entire prison population in 1980. Despite the fact that studies indicate that most drug users and dealers are white, more than two thirds of all people incarcerated for drugs are Black or Latino/Hispanic."

The Racial Dimension: Drugs and mass incarceration (1995). (2018). In Grey House Publishing (Ed.), Opinions throughout history: Drug use & abuse. Grey House Publishing. Credo Reference:


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