By Ernest Drucker
While Dr. John Snow first traced a virus of cholera to a water pump within the Soho district of London in 1854, the sector of epidemiology was once born. Taking a similar public healthiness techniques and instruments that experience effectively tracked epidemics of flu, tuberculosis, and AIDS over the intervening 100 and fifty years, Ernest Drucker makes the case that our present extraordinary point of imprisonment has turn into an epidemic—a plague upon our physique politic.
Drucker, an the world over famous public health and wellbeing pupil and Soros Justice Fellow, spent 20 years treating drug dependancy and one other twenty learning AIDS in many of the poorest neighborhoods of the South Bronx and all over the world. He
compares mass incarceration to different, well-recognized epidemics utilizing uncomplicated public wellbeing and fitness innovations: “prevalence and incidence,” “outbreaks,” “contagion,” “transmission,” and “potential years of lifestyles lost.”
He argues that imprisonment—originally conceived as a reaction to individuals’ crimes—has develop into mass incarceration: a destabilizing strength that undermines the households and groups it pursuits, destructive the very social buildings that hinder crime.
Sure to impress debate, this publication shifts the paradigm of ways we expect approximately punishment by means of demonstrating that our extraordinary premiums of incarceration have the contagious and self-perpetuating beneficial properties of the plagues of past centuries.
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Additional resources for A Plague of Prisons: The Epidemiology of Mass Incarceration in America
Source: New York State Department of Health. The data on annual cases form a time series depicting the growth of hospitalized AIDS cases (their incidence) over the first four years of the new epidemic in the Bronx, showing the dramatic spread of AIDS in one early outbreak. The epidemic more than doubled in each of the next four years, rising twenty-one-fold— from 15 cases in 1982 to 323 cases in 1985. The number would eventually climb to 1,500 new cases by the peak year of 1993. By 2005, 20,000 people in the Bronx were living with HIV or AIDS— and another 10,000 had died, mostly in the first decade of the epidemic, before we had any effective treatment for the virus itself.
In these communities, the epidemic of incarceration affects everyone—more damaging than the drugs that were the original rationale for so many of the arrests. In A Different Kind of Epidemic 45 these communities, incarceration has become the norm, spawning successive generations of prison orphans and gang members. It is no secret these feeder communities are largely black and Hispanic. An estimated 50 percent of all the extended black and Hispanic families in the United States by now have had a member incarcerated in the last thirty-five years; for the poorest in both groups, that number approaches 100 percent.
Today we chlorinate the water supply for this same basic reason—to kill dangerous microorganisms that transmit disease. Ultimately, anomalies such as these highlight the utility of mapping, both proving the rule with the exception and reminding us that all epidemics are multidetermined. Even a clear culprit such as the Broad Street pump is part of a more complex social context involving location, the economic conventions of the era, and chance. And while we may not know what all the causes of an epidemic are or how to treat the cases, Snow’s work demonstrates that mapping early cases—exceptions and all—gives us vital clues as to what causes disease and how an epidemic is spread.
A Plague of Prisons: The Epidemiology of Mass Incarceration in America by Ernest Drucker
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