American Prisons in a Time of Crisis

  • Alfred Blumstein
Part of the Law, Society and Policy book series (LSPO, volume 4)


Through most of the first three-quarters of this century, the situation in American prisons was remarkably stable. Prison populations were sufficiently stable so that they stimulated a theory of the stability of prison populations (Blumstein and Cohen, 1973), published in 1973. Almost as if by spite, prison populations in 1973 began an astonishing steady climb, from a prison population of under 100,000 in 1969 to almost 600,000 in 1987. In this chapter, I would like to explore some of the factors that contributed to that climb, some prospects for the future, and some policy implications of those trends.


Criminal Justice System Prison Population Crime Commission Sentencing Structure Sentencing Policy 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alfred Blumstein
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Urban and Public AffairsCarnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA

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