The abstract for John Eason's paper states: "There is a longstanding belief that the rural town leaders and politicians responsible for the prison boom are almost exclusively white, male, Republicans. We explore the political, social, and economic influences of prison building across states, regions, and cities/towns. Using multilevel modeling, we find that racial and economic disadvantage predicts prison building in towns, and party affiliation of state legislatures predicts prison building across different periods of the prison boom. While others find a link between Republican Party strength in state legislatures and mass incarceration, our findings suggest that prison building, like other types of punishment, results from bipartisan political support for the state's ability to punish. We conclude by advancing an expanded theoretical approach to the prison boom."
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