"Ernest Drucker, an internationally recognized public health scholar ... contends that mass incarceration ought to be understood as a contagious disease, an epidemic of gargantuan proportions. With voluminous data and meticulous analysis, he persuasively demonstrates in his provocative new book, A Plague of Prisons
, that the unprecedented surge in incarceration in recent decades is a social catastrophe on the scale of the worst global epidemics, and that modes of analysis employed by epidemiologists to combat plagues and similar public health crises are remarkably useful when assessing the origins, harm and potential cures for what he calls our 'plague of imprisonment.'"
--THE WASHINGTON POST
"Ernest Drucker, an epidemiologist, uses the tools of his trade to examine the [Rockefeller] drug laws and their consequences [which] are unjust, unintended and easily remedied. Treating drug addiction as a public-health problem emphasizing treatment and harm-reduction rather than a crime to be punished would go a long way towards making America's poor and minority communities stabler and better."
"Wonderfully written and packed with insight, Ernest Drucker has added a new voice to the debate about prisons and provided a previously missing but enormously valuable scientific perspective. People who already think they know a lot about the problem of mass incarceration will learn from this book, and people who don't know much about it will get everything they need to know."
--TODD CLEAR, dean of the Rutgers University School of Criminal Justice
"A towering achievement, A Plague of Prisons
does something rare and valuable: it provides a new way of looking at, thinking about, and analyzing old and familiar data, thereby creating fresh insights into and understanding of a social catastrophe."
--IRA GLASSER, former executive director, American Civil Liberties Union
"Drucker brings the tools of epidemiology, the informed perspective of a social critic, and the graceful language of a natural writer to illuminate the plague of incarceration that is crippling poor and primarily minority urban communities, and to make a clear, cogent call for reform."
--JAMIE FELLNER, senior advisor, U.S. Program, Human Rights Watch
"A seminal book by a truly gifted scholar. Read and weep and then pass along this important work to everyone who has a stake in reforming the contemporary U.S. criminal justice system -- which is to say, all of us."
--STEPHEN FLYNN, PhD, president, Center for National Policy
"A unique and groundbreaking work. Ernest Drucker helps us understand the consequences of our societal decision to incarcerate so many, and leads us to clear, tractable solutions to end this epidemic."
--SANDRO GALEA, MD, DrPH, President of the Society of Epidemiological Research
"Ernest Drucker brings to his analysis the professional knowledge of an expert in epidemiology and public health, and the moral passion of someone who has devoted his life to humanitarian action on behalf of social justice."
--RENEE C. FOX, Annenberg Professor Emerita of Social Sciences, University of Pennsylvania
"A careful, colorful, and much-needed examination of the causes and consequences of the epidemic of incarceration in the United States with enormous relevance for anyone concerned about public health, criminal justice, and public policy."
--JIM CURRAN, dean, Rollins School of Public Health, and co-director, Emory Center for AIDS Research