Off-campus Valpo users: To download campus access documents, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your Valpo user name and password.

Non-Valpo users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this document through interlibrary loan.


Bradley Davis

Document Type

Restricted CORE Hall of Fame Paper

Publication Date



[Excerpt] In the United States, incarceration rates have skyrocketed in the last 50 years, starting with the so-called “war on drugs” that heavily criminalized drug use and possession (Western & Muller, 2013). Minimum sentencing and other legal measures were taken so the “bad guys” would stay in jail for as long as possible. The term mass incarceration was coined to describe the state of high incarceration rates maintained in the United States this term is well deserved, as populations in jails and prisons in 2013 are five times that they were in 1970 (Western & Muller, 2013). Needless to say, there have been more people in prisons in the United States in the last decade than ever before. Mass incarceration is known to have effects beyond the individual, putting stress on alternate caregivers and has a negative effect on the financial stability of a family(Burgess-Proctor, 2016). Others, including Western & Muller (2013) are more willing to make concessions that incarceration truly does reduce the amount of crime perpetrated in a society in the short run. While it is clear that mass incarceration affects the lives of the convicted, an incarcerated parent changes the lives of their children. The United States system of mass incarceration has had a detrimental impact on children, specifically their future clashes with the law, their education and their friendships. The effect the justice system has on children of the incarcerated is a grave injustice in the American legal system.