According to Eric Foner, during the 1970’s, crime rates were rising, political parties of both sides decided to change the way they deal with crime. They wanted to be “tough on crime” and that criminals should be lock up in prison for a longer periods. The government started to increase the penalties for crime, like treating drug addiction as a violation of law instead of a disease. This tactic became very successful, and the number of Americans imprisoned rose dramatically.
Since the 1970’s to 1990’s, crime rate dropped dramatically after the new “tough on crime” attitude. In return the population at prison reached over 2million people, which was ten times that amount during 1970’s. Since there was an increase in prison population struggling communities took this as an opportunity. They saw prisons as a source of jobs and income, between 1990 and 1995 over 200 new prisons were built.