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Invisible men : mass incarceration and the myth of black progress

Author: Becky Pettit
Publisher: New York : Russell Sage Foundation, ©2012.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
For African American men without a high school diploma, being in prison or jail is more common than being employed- a sobering reality that calls into question post-Civil Rights era social gains. Nearly 70 percent of young black men with low levels of education will be imprisoned at some point in their lives. The author demonstrates another vexing fact of mass incarceration: most national surveys do not account for  Read more...
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Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Becky Pettit
ISBN: 9780871546678 0871546671 9781610447782 1610447786
OCLC Number: 777601726
Description: xiv, 141 pages ; 23 cm
Contents: Invisible men --
Enumerating inequality --
Under surveillance --
Illusions of progress --
Democracy in the age of mass incarceration --
Other casualties of mass incarceration --
Establishing justice.
Responsibility: Becky Pettit.

Abstract:

For African American men without a high school diploma, being in prison or jail is more common than being employed- a sobering reality that calls into question post-Civil Rights era social gains. Nearly 70 percent of young black men with low levels of education will be imprisoned at some point in their lives. The author demonstrates another vexing fact of mass incarceration: most national surveys do not account for prison inmates, a fact that results in a misrepresentation of the U.S. political, economic, and social conditions in general and black progress in particular. This book provides an eye-opening examination of how mass incarceration has concealed decades of racial inequality. Becky Pettit, a sociologist, marshals a wealth of evidence correlating the explosion in prison growth with the disappearance of millions of black men into the American penal system. She shows that, because prison inmates are not included in most survey data, statistics that seemed to indicate a narrowing black-white racial gap- on educational attainment, work force participation, and earnings - instead fail to capture persistent racial, economic, and social disadvantage among African Americans. Federal statistical agencies, including the U.S. Census Bureau, collect surprisingly little information about the incarcerated, and inmates are not included in household samples in national surveys. As a result, these men are invisible to most mainstream social science research that isn't directly related to crime or criminal justice. Since merely being counted poses such a challenge, inmates' lives- including their family background, the communities they come from, or what happens to them after incarceration- are even more rarely examined. And correctional budgets provide primarily for housing and monitoring inmates, with little left over for job training or rehabilitation. So a large population of young men are not only invisible to society while in prison but also ill-equipped to participate upon release. This book provides a vital reality check for social researchers, lawmakers, and anyone who cares about racial equality. It shows that more than a half century after the first civil rights legislation, the dismal fact of mass incarceration inflicts widespread and enduring damage- by undermining the fair allocation of public resources and political representation, by depriving the children of inmates their parents' economic and emotional participation, and ultimately, by concealing African American disadvantage from public view. -- Publisher description.

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