Prisons and Crime in Latin America, Marcelo Bergman and Gustavo Fondevila
How can governments effectively stem crime? This is a perennial question in political debates, in which politicians strategically use “tough on crime” platforms to advance their electoral ambitions. But it is also a question at the center of a growing body of research in political science, particularly among scholars of Latin American politics. Today, Latin America is the most violent region in the world as measured by its homicide rate. Powerful criminal organizations involved in illicit economies have long histories in many parts of the region, but the last few decades have seen the fragmentation of the criminal landscape and the proliferation of violent armed actors, posing complex challenges for everyday life, economic development, and political stability. This worrisome situation has spurred many public policy experiments to reduce crime, including efforts to reform police and judicial institutions, which have generated mixed outcomes.
In Prisons and Crime in Latin America, Marcelo Bergman and Gustavo Fondevila focus on another government response to crime the region: mass incarceration. Following in the footsteps of similar initiatives launched in the United States during the second half of the twentieth century, Latin American governments have been busy amending existing and creating new legal tools and rules that have increased the
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