Friday, December 16, 2011

Paradigm Shift Shall Surely Come

This blog turned three yesterday.

Depending on how one measures, that is arguably a fairly long time. Senator Jim Webb’s proposal for a national sentencing reform commission, for example, has come and gone.

By broader measures of duration, however, three years is not that long at all. The dominant paradigm of mass incarceration remains very much in place in American criminal justice.

Yes, there are some reform experiments underway in cash-strapped states that can longer afford to lock so many people up for so long. But the fundamental focus on prison and punishment remains very much in place as 2011 draws to a close, just as it did in 2008 when I put up my first post.

Paradigm shift shall surely come to American corrections. It just won’t come on cue, merely because one year gives way to another.

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