John Pfaff’s book on mass incarceration has been featured in an Adirondack Daily Enterprise article.
Fordham Law School professor John F. Pfaff, however, warns in his new book, “Locked In: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration and How to Achieve Real Reform,” that continued decline in prison populations will not come easily.
While he credits a decrease in the number of people in prison for drug crimes for the recent inmate decline, Pfaff stresses that “focusing on drugs will only work in the short run.”
He argues that the drug war, contrary to popular belief, is not the primary cause of prison growth. “About 200,000 people in state prisons and another 100,000 in federal institutions are serving time for drug crimes … [and]… Freeing every single person who is in a state prison on a drug charge would only cut state prison populations back to where they were in 1996-1997, well into the ‘mass incarceration’ period.” That reduction would be a big improvement, but it does not go far enough.