Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology

Amy Bailey Examines Military Downsizing and Mass Incarceration in New Study

Posted: 5/2/2020 (CSDE Research)

In a new study titled “Institutional Castling: Military Enlistment and Mass Incarceration in the United States” published in the Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences, CSDE Regional Affiliate Amy Bailey and Bryan Sykes examine a key consequence of military downsizing: increased incarceration rates. By analyzing data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, Bailey and Sykes show how institutional castling—the shifting prominence of competing institutions in the lives of specific demographic groups—has affected the underlying risk of military employment and penal confinement. Their results imply that the military has remarkable protective effects against the penal institution for men with low levels of education and for Black men, in particular.

As a means to conclude the study, Bailey and Sykes emphasize that “The castling of these two institutions in the lives of disadvantaged men requires hyperbolic doubt to reimagine how state power is exercised to shape (and reshape) the composition of the armed forces, the penal system, and the civilian labor market synchronistically.”

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