Alessandro De Giorgi



Five Theses on Mass Incarceration

This essay provides a critical overview of the discursive field that has consolidated in recent years around the prison crisis in the United States. Written in the form of “five theses” on mass incarceration, the essay charts some emerging vectors of the current penal reform discourse, outlining their promises and pitfalls. Against any technocratic approach to the penal question, the article emphasizes the politico-economic dimension of the American penal experiment, as well as the structural connections between the penal state and broader issues of social inequality and racial power in the United States. In the concluding section, the author outlines penal reforms that could become part of a broader radical-reformist agenda for our times.

mass incarceration, penal system, United States

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 42, No. 2 (2015): 5-30


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