Published online by Cambridge University Press: 19 February 2021
Chapter 9 reexamines our main claims by studying the so-called division between prison and the outside world. Penal populism claims: “Lock-in the criminals and throw away the keys,” yet the harsh reality has proven that this separation is a fallacy. The vast majority of inmates re-enter society after a few years, and all inmates have links with the outside world, producing negative externalities from imprisonment. This chapter shows that the boundaries between prisons and the outside world are blurred, that prisons are an integral part of life for hundreds of thousands in Latin America and affect the millions of relatives and friends who live outside prisons. Thus, there are active networks and channels of communication and exchanges that defy the concept of prisons as isolation centers. The chapter looks at several topics such as the effect of prison on families and recidivism, and concludes that separating large numbers of young people from the outside world has not impacted crime levels on the streets.
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