Annotated Bibliography

In the article “Nudging” Prisons: New Hope for Real Prison Reform, author Mark Dlugash goes over the history of prisons, the involvement of politics and prison reform, and the idea of “Nudging”. He says that, ” Prior to the late nineteenth century, prisons were meant to hold prisoners until their “real” punishment, which was usually physically painful (e.g., public whipping) and could include public humiliation.” (51) which is a stark contrast to what prisons are today. Today, prisons are the punishment. A shocking figure that Dlugash pointed out is,  “Today, the United States holds nearly a quarter of the world’s prison population.” (52) a figure achieved thanks to politicians mostly.  Thanks to the 1980’s and 90’s “tough of crime” attitude, more people were locked up and are locked up, for many times non-violent offenses. Another reason he points out, is “Politicians who seem “soft” on crime risk being voted out of office.” (52) so it’s almost impossible to get reform through major political arenas. Dlugash goes on to point out the things that they have done in Singapore to reduce recidivism. Things like “a humane and trusting process, educating both prisoners and the public, developing effective aftercare programs, and carefully monitoring and prioritizing key metrics for life success.” (53).  Singapore was able to drop their recidivism rate from 44% to 27% in 10 years. That is a goal that Dlugash believes America can achieve via “nudging”. He describes “nudging” as, “any aspect of the choice architecture that alters people’s behavior in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentives.” (54). He uses examples like “instead of asking the state to provide drug treatment to all addicted prisoners, prisons can post the phone numbers for free drug treatment programs (run by outside nonprofits) on prison bulletin boards and give prisoners access to phones that would let them take advantage of them.”(54). Also similar examples from where nudging has worked in an English prison.

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3 responses to “Annotated Bibliography

  1. While your quotes were solid, I feel that focusing on the economic benefit of prison reform (similar to my argument) would be most effective to anyone who is not moved simply by the human rights argument.

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  2. I felt as if your annotation was good, you had a quality source and were able to pull meaningful quotes from the text. Perhaps you could focus on one of your two major points instead of bringing up two different anecdotes. While the Singapore example is a great point, I felt like it was somewhat made into a main idea instead of evidence that gradual prison reform can be successful.

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