By Ernest Drucker
Whilst Dr. John Snow first traced a scourge of cholera to a water pump within the Soho district of London in 1854, the sector of epidemiology used to be born. Taking a similar public future health ways and instruments that experience effectively tracked epidemics of flu, tuberculosis, and AIDS over the intervening 100 and fifty years, Ernest Drucker makes the case that our present extraordinary point of imprisonment has turn into an epidemic—a plague upon our physique politic.
Drucker, an the world over famous public wellbeing and fitness student and Soros Justice Fellow, spent two decades treating drug habit and one other twenty learning AIDS in a few of the poorest neighborhoods of the South Bronx and around the globe. He
compares mass incarceration to different, well-recognized epidemics utilizing easy public health and wellbeing techniques: “prevalence and incidence,” “outbreaks,” “contagion,” “transmission,” and “potential years of existence lost.”
He argues that imprisonment—originally conceived as a reaction to individuals’ crimes—has develop into mass incarceration: a destabilizing strength that undermines the households and groups it objectives, harmful the very social buildings that hinder crime.
Sure to impress debate, this ebook shifts the paradigm of the way we expect approximately punishment via demonstrating that our unparalleled premiums of incarceration have the contagious and self-perpetuating positive factors of the plagues of past centuries.
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Additional info for A Plague of Prisons: The Epidemiology of Mass Incarceration in America
24). Source: Charles Swartz and Eric Cadora, Justice Mapping Center. AIDS: The Epidemiology of a New Disease 35 are not inevitable by‑products of drug use. We have developed alternative drug policies, called harm reduction, that are very effective in preventing the spread of diseases associated with drug use. 22 And we have learned that the ways we responded (and failed to respond) to our drug problems determined the course of the AIDS epidemic in America. So we can see that AIDS was a highly political epidemic from its first cases among gay men in California to its later home in the shooting galleries of the poorest urban ghettos of America’s cities.
New York’s Rikers Island, for example, the largest city jail in the world, soon became the largest single concentration of AIDS-infected individuals in the United States. Drug criminalization and its enforcement undermined medical and public health efforts to treat these addicts effectively and failed to stem the tide of the AIDS epidemic. Soon we would see that the driving force spreading this new epidemic among drug injectors was not the drugs per se. Rather, the political decision to criminalize drugs and related injecting paraphernalia created ideal conditions for AIDS to thrive.
What occurred in New York State to explain this surge of incarceration? All signs point to a new set of drug policies, drug laws, and drug enforcement strategies—the Rockefeller drug laws of 1973. New York’s epidemic of incarceration, which continues to this day, began the year that New York’s Rockefeller drug laws came into effect. Adopted in response to the rise in heroin use in New York in the 1960s, these laws mandated an elaborate new set of lengthy sentences for many drug offenses. In some cases sentences for possession and sales of small quantities of drugs were equal to those given for many violent crimes—rape, assault, robbery—and even longer than sentences for some forms of manslaughter or homicide.