From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime   Leave a comment

From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime by Elizabeth Hinton is a book that’s hard to read, but one that you will want to read if you want to understand a big portion of the reasons why there are so many African Americans incarcerated in our country.  As you may know, the United States as more people incarcerated per capita than any other country on earth.

The basic concept is that due to the ways the war on poverty was implemented, government leaders thought it wasn’t working, and due to the unrest of the 60s and early 70s, they then leaned harder on trying to stop crime.  But due to their own biases they misunderstood the causes of crime and in trying to stop crime, ended up inflaming the problem.  The predictions that were then made of further crime waves drove prison construction, police department mobilization and a larger penal system.  And here we are today….It’s more complicated than that, as you can read, but in some ways as simple as the racial stereotypes held by the leaders who created the policies and made the choices that have led to where we are today.

As I said, the book is painful to read.  Nonetheless I recommend it to any student of where our culture is today and the racial divides we still face.  The author’s detailed scholarship is commendable and pretty difficult to refute, with the caveat that those who don’t want to believe the evidence may continue to place the blame for the violence of the 60s and 70s where it was placed at the time. But for many of us, perhaps the book will turn us to a different path, and enable us to see that we want to move forward to dismantle the vast prison that much of America has turned into.

Posted May 8, 2018 by swanatbagend in Uncategorized

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