Marie Gottschalk

University of Pennsylvania

Marie Gottschalk, assistant professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania, will study the political factors behind the increase in mass imprisonment in the United States. While the incarceration rate in the United States remained remarkably stable for much of the twentieth century, it took a sharp upward turn in 1973, and it has increased by about 500 percent since then. Penal policies have also become far more restrictive, with punishment rather than rehabilitation as the stated goal. A significant factor explaining the reversals in prison reform and the dramatic growth in prisons, Gottschalk hypothesizes, is the mobilization of certain interest groups and reform movements around the crime issue at the local, state, and national levels. Gottschalk will study the constellation of interest groups that emerged around politics of penal policy in the last thirty years, including victims' rights groups, law-enforcement agencies, prison guard unions, firms that build prisons, and mass membership organizations like the National Rifle Association that have made crime a new focal point.

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