Lecture 012


Mass Incarceration - essay goal

Flaws in the studies

Accepted Explanation: 1970 increase incarceration

Penal Change as Legal Change

Statutory Changes

1975: symbolic policy -> pragmatic and realistic criminal justice policy

Federal Case Law (8th Amendment)

two solution: reduce crime in prison

Changes to Post-incarceration Law and Policy

Two Changes

Changes to Local Legal Practices

local: Least explored, most interesting

plea bargaining: saying that I am wrong to reduce incarceration

Law as Local

Difference between county exists:

Local can cause national legal policy: Prisoner Litigation Reform Act of 1995

The Movement of Law and Policy: Regional Effects

sentencing policy start from a region and expand outward


Purpose: Avoid simple cause-effect model Solution:


Local is more feasible.


  1. implication for local / national policy formulation

  2. local aggregation is better at explaining because law existing in local level (reductionism)

  3. methodological issue?

  4. assume quantitative variable

  5. assume consistent with time and place (assumption by aggregating data)

  6. assume one direction influence (cause)

  7. are there features of “legal change” that are higher level “social facts” that causally influence the situation but don’t reduce to individual

  8. according to the phrasing of the article, "politics, public sentiment, economics" might not be reduce-able.

  9. according to my interpretation, any larger concepts (public sentiment) can be described by aggregation of individuals

  10. individualist vs. holist

  11. using the word "culture" is just a easy way to describe most people's common ideology.

  12. I think the whole article is more on reduction side

  13. what is "theoretical and policy implication"

  14. by understanding causal factor, we can implement solutions easier



group position: justification: potential objections: points of contention:

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