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American Exceptionalism in Crime and Punishment$
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Kevin R. Reitz

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190203542

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190203542.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 October 2021

American Exceptionalism in Comparative Perspective

American Exceptionalism in Comparative Perspective

Explaining Trends and Variation in the Use of Incarceration

(p.195) 5 American Exceptionalism in Comparative Perspective
American Exceptionalism in Crime and Punishment

Tapio Lappi-Seppälä

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines American penal exceptionalism in a wider cross-national perspective than previous studies and disaggregates the US data so that the experiences of individual states may be included in a comparative analysis. It first investigates how incarceration trends in the United States differ from those in other developed countries and where the United States fits today in a global comparison. The chapter then examines these trends and differences in light of crime data, before widening the search of explanations to socioeconomic, political, and cultural variables. One major finding of the chapter is that the predictors of incarceration rates developed from multinational samples, mostly in Europe, are largely replicated when building models to predict the incarceration rates of individual American states. This is important confirmation of earlier empirical research and provides a new framework for understanding the large variations in incarceration practices across US jurisdictions.

Keywords:   American penal exceptionalism, cross-national perspective, comparative analysis, incarceration trend, incarceration practice, crime data, incarceration rate

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