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Welfare and Imprisonment in 1970s America: Politics and Society in Modern Times

Jese Leos
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Published in Getting Tough: Welfare And Imprisonment In 1970s America (Politics And Society In Modern America 129)
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The 1970s marked a significant turning point in American politics and society, characterized by a dramatic rise in both welfare spending and imprisonment rates. This trend, which has continued to this day, has had a profound impact on the lives of millions of Americans, particularly those living in poverty and communities of color.

The Rise of Welfare

Welfare spending in the United States increased rapidly during the 1970s, from $7.3 billion in 1970 to $23.6 billion in 1980. This increase was driven by a number of factors, including:

Getting Tough: Welfare and Imprisonment in 1970s America (Politics and Society in Modern America 129)
Getting Tough: Welfare and Imprisonment in 1970s America (Politics and Society in Modern America Book 129)
by Jan-Werner M眉ller

4.4 out of 5

Language : English
File size : 1681 KB
Text-to-Speech : Enabled
Screen Reader : Supported
Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
Word Wise : Enabled
Print length : 301 pages
X-Ray for textbooks : Enabled
  • The Great Recession of 1973-75, which led to widespread job losses and economic hardship.
  • The passage of the Social Security Amendments of 1972, which expanded eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC).
  • The increasing number of single mothers in the workforce, who often relied on welfare to supplement their income.

The rise of welfare spending had a number of consequences. On the one hand, it helped to reduce poverty and improve the lives of millions of Americans. On the other hand, it also led to a number of negative stereotypes and stigmas about welfare recipients, who were often seen as lazy and irresponsible.

The Rise of Imprisonment

The imprisonment rate in the United States also increased dramatically during the 1970s, from 182 per 100,000 people in 1970 to 325 per 100,000 people in 1980. This increase was driven by a number of factors, including:

  • The War on Drugs, which led to the mass incarceration of people of color for drug-related offenses.
  • The passage of mandatory minimum sentencing laws, which required judges to impose harsh sentences for certain crimes.
  • The decline of the manufacturing sector, which led to job losses and increased poverty in many communities.

The rise of imprisonment had a number of consequences. On the one hand, it helped to reduce crime rates and make communities safer. On the other hand, it also led to the mass incarceration of people of color, who were disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs and mandatory minimum sentencing laws.

The Connection Between Welfare and Imprisonment

There is a strong connection between welfare and imprisonment in the United States. Many people who receive welfare are also involved in the criminal justice system. This is due to a number of factors, including:

  • Poverty is a major risk factor for crime. People who are poor are more likely to live in dangerous neighborhoods, attend underfunded schools, and have limited access to job opportunities. These factors can all contribute to criminal behavior.
  • The criminal justice system is biased against people of color. People of color are more likely to be arrested, charged, and convicted of crimes than white people, even for the same offenses. This is due to a number of factors, including racial profiling, discriminatory sentencing practices, and the over-policing of communities of color.
  • Welfare programs can provide a safety net for people who are involved in the criminal justice system. Welfare can help to cover the costs of housing, food, and other basic necessities, which can help people to stay out of prison or to reintegrate into society after they are released.

The Impact of Welfare and Imprisonment on American Society

The rise of welfare and imprisonment has had a profound impact on American society. These trends have contributed to:

  • The mass incarceration of people of color.
  • The feminization of poverty.
  • The decline of the manufacturing sector.
  • The rise of the service economy.
  • The increasing wealth gap.

These trends have also led to a number of social problems, including:

  • The breakdown of families.
  • The increase in homelessness.
  • The rise of drug addiction.
  • The increase in mental illness.
  • The decline in social mobility.

The rise of welfare and imprisonment in the 1970s was a major turning point in American politics and society. These trends have had a profound impact on the lives of millions of Americans, particularly those living in poverty and communities of color. It is important to understand the connection between these two trends and their impact on American society in order to develop effective policies to address the challenges they pose.

Getting Tough: Welfare and Imprisonment in 1970s America (Politics and Society in Modern America 129)
Getting Tough: Welfare and Imprisonment in 1970s America (Politics and Society in Modern America Book 129)
by Jan-Werner M眉ller

4.4 out of 5

Language : English
File size : 1681 KB
Text-to-Speech : Enabled
Screen Reader : Supported
Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
Word Wise : Enabled
Print length : 301 pages
X-Ray for textbooks : Enabled
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The book was found!
Getting Tough: Welfare and Imprisonment in 1970s America (Politics and Society in Modern America 129)
Getting Tough: Welfare and Imprisonment in 1970s America (Politics and Society in Modern America Book 129)
by Jan-Werner M眉ller

4.4 out of 5

Language : English
File size : 1681 KB
Text-to-Speech : Enabled
Screen Reader : Supported
Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
Word Wise : Enabled
Print length : 301 pages
X-Ray for textbooks : Enabled
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