Peter K. EnnsMay 2, 2016
How the United States Became the Most Punitive Democracy in the World
Cambridge University Press 2016
Peter K. Enns is the author of Incarceration Nation: How the United States Became the Most Punitive Democracy in the World (Cambridge University Press, 2016). Enns is Associate Professor in the Department of Government and Executive Director of the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research at Cornell University. The rise of mass incarceration in the United States is one of the most critical outcomes of the last half-century. Incarceration Nation combines close analysis of Barry Goldwater and Richard Nixon's presidential campaigns with 60 years of data analysis. In contrast to conventional wisdom, Enns shows that over this time period, politicians responded to an increasingly punitive public by pushing policy in a more punitive direction. The book also shows that media coverage of rising crime rates fueled the public's attitudes. More recently, a decline in public punitiveness helps explain the current bipartisan calls for criminal justice reform.