• Locked In

  • The True Causes of Mass Incarceration - and How to Achieve Real Reform
  • By: John F. Pfaff
  • Narrated by: Graham Halstead
  • Length: 9 hrs and 8 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (118 ratings)

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Locked In  By  cover art

Locked In

By: John F. Pfaff
Narrated by: Graham Halstead
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Publisher's Summary

Locked In is a revelatory investigation into the root causes of mass incarceration by one of the most exciting scholars in the country. Having spent 15 years studying the data on imprisonment, John Pfaff takes apart the reigning consensus created by Michelle Alexander and other reformers, revealing that the most widely accepted explanations - the failed War on Drugs, draconian sentencing laws, an increasing reliance on private prisons - tell us much less than we think.

Pfaff urges us to look at other factors instead, including a major shift in prosecutor behavior that occurred in the mid-1990s, when prosecutors began bringing felony charges against arrestees about twice as often as they had before. He describes a fractured criminal justice system, in which counties don't pay for the people they send to state prisons, and in which white suburbs set law-and-order agendas for more-heavily minority cities. And he shows that if we hope to significantly reduce prison populations, we have no choice but to think differently about how to deal with people convicted of violent crimes - and why some people are violent in the first place.

©2017 John F. Pfaff (P)2017 Tantor
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

"In the extremely important book, Locked In: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration - and How to Achieve Real Reform, John F. Pfaff analyzes why America incarcerates more people than ever even as crime rates continue to fall...[he] also makes a compelling case that incarceration disrupts the lives of the incarcerated and their families long after they have served their time." ( Wall Street Journal)
"Pfaff, let there be no doubt, is a reformer.... Nonetheless, he believes that the standard story - popularized in particular by Michelle Alexander, in her influential book, The New Jim Crow - is false. We are desperately in need of reform, he insists, but we must reform the right things, and address the true problem." (Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker)

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The true causes of Mass Incarceration

This is an eye opener for me, as it points out the biggest cause of mass incarceration is the heavy reliance of incarceration as the means to control violent crimes. To reduce incarceration to levels comparable to Europe, we will need to look at alternatives. The book also points out the importance of looking at the role prosecutes play as well as a number of other factors that advocates of criminal justice reform often overlook.

I should point out my main goal regarding criminal justice reform is eliminating victimless crimes or crimes which can be made victimless under the right circumstances; IE legal but reasonably heavily regulated recreational drug market so that purchases of drugs are less likely to fuel violent drug gangs like the Cartels, but instead, would go to companies with substantial government oversight. However, if we are going to be serious about substantially reducing incarceration, we are going to have to take a hard look at people convicted of real crimes and figure out who really needs to be there, and who is better off being on probation, suspended sentence, community service or stand-alone fines.

I will say that I do hope John F, Pfaff writes future books on mass incarceration, and that those books will focus on criminal justice systems outside the US, from Denmark to Germany. In those countries, incarceration is not the first resort and fines and probation-like sentences there are the norm. Perhaps we Americans can learn a thing or two about how foreign countries do justice.

Because imprisonment is expensive, not just for the one in prison, but for those who pay taxes, and for the family of the one in prison. It's easy for us to say "Well she/he deserves it", but if alternatives to incarceration can give us similar or even superior rehabilitative and public safety outcomes coupled with significant tax payer cost savings, why not invest in those alternatives?

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Incredibly Good

I have been reading a lot of very good non-fiction lately. This book is an absolute masterpiece. I first read Michelle Alexander’s book (The New Jim Crow) which is another must read and this book is a perfect follow-up read to that. This book is pretty much everything you could ask for if you are trying to form a deep understanding of mass incarceration. An absolute tour de force. It comes dangerously close to getting a little dull - only because facts and statistics tend to do that. The author never presents a number unless it is needed. The book takes it as given that the reader wants a careful and meticulous deep dive into the topic. I did and am just so thrilled I read this. There should be more non- fiction like this on every key policy debate. The narrator does a very good job and is extremely clear. I cannot recommend this book enough.

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Facts don't care about your feelings...

If Ben Shapiro were a better writer and determined to soften the image of the war on drugs and private prisons, he could still only dream of penning this gish-gallop of questionable data in the early Trump-era - facts-over-feelings grift style, presented masterfully with "trust me, I'm totally progressive, I'm just holding our side accountable" virtue signaling that would make Tim Pool blush.

Well written, though. Kept me engaged and interested throughout.

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Thought-provoking and persuasive

I walked away having internalized his main points, which he makes effectively and compellingly. Always a treat to find a book that truly changes your perspective on an issue. Highly recommended!

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delusional

So, this author thinks we are too hard on violent offenders? you lost me there.

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Counterweight for The New Jim Crow

Packed with several relevant statistics, Locked In is a great resource to better balance the emotionally driven authorship of Michelle Alexander in her work on The New Jim Crow. If your passionate response to the current environment has lead you to read the New Jim Crow, please do yourself a favor and follow up with Pfaff’s book.

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very factual.

super informative, but not boring. definitely highly recommend this book.

he highlights the shortcomings of the current push for criminal justice reform and how we can better address and fix the whole system.

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Not Accurate

I couldn't get through three chapters of this nonsense. So many incorrect accounts and inaccuracies! What a shame.

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Locked Up

It was ok. some good ideas some not viable. Found it overall interesting as I work in corrections. Narration was solid

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informative

while I wish he would've focused on bail reform and what European countries are doing to combat crime at some point, but overall, I was very impressed with this book. the emperical nature of it's arguments are refreshing and on point.