• America: The great prison nation

      Teague, Michael; Teesside University (Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, 2008)
      America leads the world in custody. The country’s 5,000 jails and prisons hold a staggering 2.24 million prisoners. Though home to just 1 in 20 of the global population, the USA incarcerates a quarter of the world’s prisoners. America’s proportional imprisonment rate of is 6–10 times greater than that of most developed, industrialised nations. In a typical year, some 13.5 million US citizens (out of a total population of 300 million) spend time in either jail or prison.This discussion outlines multiple areas of concern about the sheer scale and functioning of the US prison system, framed through the prism of UK comparisons.
    • Barack Obama: changing American criminal justice?

      Teague, Michael; Teesside University (Taylor and Francis, 2009-12)
      Barack Obama's election as the USA's 44th president signalled the end of an era of entrenched conservatism in American government. Following his inauguration on 20 January 2009, one fundamental question confronts anyone concerned with the state of American criminal justice. Energised by a wave of popular support, will the new president go down in history as someone who radically reformed America's overloaded criminal justice system?
    • Mass incarceration: the juggernaut of American penal expansionism

      Teague, Michael; University of Derby (Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, 2016-09)
      A plethora of evidence confirms that America continues to lead the world in imprisonment. No serious commentator doubts mass incarceration is a major issue for the nation. The America penal industrial complex incarcerates close to a quarter of all the prisoners on the planet. The American rate of incarceration remains stubbornly locked at a substantially higher level than those of comparable parliamentary democracies. There is no doubt that America’s penal institutions contain some individuals who pose a substantial public risk. However, there is significant scope to limit incarceration for a range of offenders, including those convicted of drug offences. There is a recognition the decades-long ‘War on Drugs’ has ultimately been counterproductive. At the end of 2014, some six years into Obama’s presidency, the USA’s total incarcerated population included some 2,306,100 prisoners It is only now that the United States may be witnessing the end of an ill-starred forty year experiment with mass incarceration and that American penal expansionism has finally begun to ease. The overall picture is of a pause, and even a slight reverse, in the race to incarcerate.
    • Probation in America: armed, private and unaffordable?

      Teague, Michael; Teesside University (Sage, 2011)
      While America is renowned for its enormous prison industrial complex, less academic attention has been paid to the state of probation intervention. The probation population has long been rising more swiftly than the prison population, and one in 45 adults in the USA is now subject to community upervision. This article explores the development of American probation and considers a series of key contextual issues, including the fragmented nature of the US probation system and the philosophies which underpin it, supervision fees, privatization, and the arming of probation officers, in order to illuminate how the community corrections system functions. The Justice Reinvestment initiative is also considered, and the impact of budgetary pressures upon probation is taken into account.
    • Profiting from the Poor: Offender-funded probation in the USA

      Teague, Michael; University of Derby (De Montfort University and Sheffield Hallam University, 2016-03-15)
      The privatization of probation provision in England and Wales is now neither tentative nor experimental. Offender-funded probation in America is an inevitable by-product of the introduction of market forces into probation, and a significant growth area. A comparative analysis of the delivery of privatized, offender-funded probation in the USA is employed in order to illuminate one possible future trajectory for probation in England and Wales. The experience of service users in southern US states is considered, as is the evidence indicating an insufficiently regulated and privatized system which is primarily driven by revenue generation rather than rehabilitation. While many US privatized probation companies operate in a principled way, a number of cases involving these companies have culminated in the incarceration of service users who were unable to afford supervision fees. When a privatized company’s survival depends on its ability to raise revenue, this may impact on the quality of intervention and the experience of service users. We are not yet at a point where offender-funded intervention is advocated in England. Nevertheless, there is a need to further reflect upon ethical, fiscal, political and practice issues before we irrevocably commit probation further down its current path.
    • The US incarceration machine

      Teague, Michael; Teesside University (The Justice Gap, 2012-02)
      The American criminal justice has long exerted a substantive impact on UK crime control policy. Issues such as the privatisation of criminal justice,'three strikes and you're out' (mandatory minimum prison sentencing), curfews and electronic monitoring ('tagging') all have their roots in US criminal justice. Our Europe-leading imprisonment rate appears positively puny compared to the USA's muscular embrace of mass incarceration. There is substantial evidence that US criminal justice system exerts a disproportional impact upon African Americans. Mass incarceration cannot proceed without immense social and economic resources. The penal system is the USA’s second biggest employer, with around three quarters of a million staff. It costs taxpayers $70 billion dollars each year.