Michael O’Hear to Release Book on Crime and Punishment

Michael O’Hear to Release Book on Crime and Punishment

ALI member Michael O’Hear of Marquette University Law School is set to release his book, Wisconsin Sentencing in the Tough-on-Crime Era: How Judges Retained Power and Why Mass Incarceration Happened Anyway (University of Wisconsin Press), this January.

From the publisher:

The dramatic increase in the U.S. prison populations since the 1970s is often blamed on the mandatory sentencing required by “three strikes” laws and other punitive crime bills. Professor O’Hear shows that the blame is actually not so easy to assign. His meticulous analysis of incarceration in Wisconsin—a state where judges have considerable discretion in sentencing—shows that the prison population has ballooned anyway, increasing nearly tenfold over forty years.


He tracks the effects of sentencing laws and politics in Wisconsin from the eve of the imprisonment boom in 1970 up to the 2010s. Drawing on archival research, original public-opinion polling, and interviews with dozens of key policymakers, he reveals important dimensions that have been missed by others. He draws out lessons from the Wisconsin experience for the U.S. as a whole, where mass incarceration has cost taxpayers billions of dollars and caused untold misery to millions of inmates and their families.

Professor O’Hear is an editor of the Federal Sentencing Reporter, and has authored works that have appeared in the The Yale Law Journal, Duke Law Journal, Northwestern University Law Review, Iowa Law Review, and Vanderbilt Law Review

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