Policy Press

Beyond Bars

A Path Forward from 50 Years of Mass Incarceration in the United States

Edited by Kristen Budd, David Lane, Glenn W. Muschert and Jason Smith


Aug 1, 2023

Page count

134 pages

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SSSP Agendas for Social Justice





Policy Press
Beyond Bars

Available Open Access digitally under CC-BY-NC-ND licence.

The year 2023 marks 50 years of mass incarceration in the United States. This timely volume highlights and addresses pressing social problems associated with the US’s heavy reliance on mass imprisonment. In an atmosphere of charged political debate, including "tough on crime" rhetoric, the editors bring together scholars and experts in the criminal justice field to provide the most up-to-date science on mass incarceration and its ramifications on justice-impacted people and our communities.

This book offers practical solutions for advocates, policy and lawmakers, and the wider public for addressing mass incarceration and its effects to create a more just, fair and safer society.

“This important volume tackles US mass incarceration head-on, adeptly explaining its failed promises, illuminating the extensive costs to communities and families, and offering realistic solutions. It’s a must-read for anyone seeking to understand this broken penal system and a practical guide for those who yearn to repair it.” Julie B. Wiest, West Chester University of Pennsylvania

Kristen M. Budd is a Research Analyst at The Sentencing Project, a nonprofit organization advocating for effective and humane responses to crime that minimize imprisonment and criminalization of youth and adults by promoting racial, ethnic, economic, and gender justice.

Glenn W. Muschert is a Professor of Sociology in the Department of Humanities & Social Sciences at Khalifa University of Science and Technology, and Len Jessup Professor of Leadership and Organizational Change in the School of Business at Woxsen University.

David C. Lane is an Associate Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice Sciences at Illinois State University.

Jason A. Smith is a Research Affiliate at the Center for Social Science Research at George Mason University.

President's Welcome - Shirley A. Jackson

Editorial Introduction - Kristen M. Budd

Foreword - Marc Mauer

Chapter 1 Mass Incarceration’s Lifetime Guarantee - Ashley Nellis

Chapter 2 Monetary Sanctions in the Age of Mass Incarceration: Addressing the Harms of Mass Criminal Legal Debt - Michele Cadigan, Alexes Harris, and Tyler Smith

Chapter 3 Mass Incarceration and the Problem of Prison Labor - Yvonne Braun and Kaelyn Polick-Kirkpatrick

Chapter 4 The Promise of Higher Education in Prison and Beyond - Elyshia Aseltine

Chapter 5 Mass incarceration and the Collateral Problems of Parole - Kimberly D. Richman

Chapter 6 Housing instability and the Criminal Legal System - R. Neil Greene and Noah Painter-Davis

Chapter 7 Reentry and Public Policy Solutions: Addressing Barriers to Housing and Employment - Maria Valdovinos Olson

Chapter 8 The Denial of Voting Rights to People with Criminal Records - Chris Uggen, Ryan Larson, Sarah Shannon, and Rob Stewart

Chapter 9 The Impact of Mass Incarceration on Children of Incarcerated Parents - Kate Luther

Chapter 10 The End of Mass Incarceration: Opportunities for Reform - Francis T. Cullen, Justin T. Pickett, and Cheryl Lero Jonson

Closing Remarks - Kara Gotsch

Afterword - Kristin Turney