Myth of the 20th Century Episode 47: Lockup – History Of The U.S. Prison System

Social Matter
December 9, 2017

Welcome to the Myth of the 20th Century. The podcast airs on Fridays.

— Brought to you by —

Adam Smith, Nick Mason, Hans Lander, and Alex Nicholson


Hidden just beneath ordinary American society lies a population that will or already has been processed by the criminal justice system. According to the CIA, 16 million Americans are estimated to go to prison at some point, a population larger than Ecuador, and 65 million have a criminal record by age 23 – more people than there are in all of the United Kingdom. What this means to the millions who are ultimately imprisoned, let alone the rest of the county, goes to the very heart of what it means to be a just society.


– Hard Time, Taylor (2002) –
– In Defense of Flogging, Moskos (2013)
– Secular Decline in Testosterone Levels, Mangan (2014) –
– A Country Called Prison, Carl and Looman (2015)
– Young black men dominate Brazil’s crowded prisons, Buenos Aires Herald (2015) –
– Does the U.S. Spend $80 Billion a Year on Incarceration?, CRFB (2015) –
– Baltimore Eclipses 2016 Homicide Total, Zero Hedge (2017) –
– What is behind Brazil’s prison crisis?, Long (2017) –
– Crime in the United States, Wikipedia –
– Inmate Age, Federal Bureau of Prisons –
– Offenses, Federal Bureau of Prisons –
– World Prison Populations, BBC –


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