Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Incarceration, Societal Implications
The United States incarcerates a larger share of its population than any other country. Increasingly, the criminal justice system affects not only the lives of convicted offenders individually but also the relative standing of demographic groups and outcomes in the country as a whole. This entry deals with the societal implications of the criminal justice system in the United States, specifically political participation, labor market performance, and black-white wage inequality. The societal impact of the criminal justice system rests primarily on its size. In 2005, over 7 million individuals were under the supervision of the criminal justice system: 1.4 million in prisons, 0.7 million in local jails, 4.2 million on probation, and 0.8 million on parole. Millions more are identifiable as ex-convicts to authorities and employers. The risk of involvement with the criminal justice system is unequally distributed. Over 90 percent of the incarcerated population is male, most are younger ...