Elizabeth Hinton’s From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime is an important contribution to the scholarship on the carceral state. While authors such as Michelle Alexander have traced the origin of mass incarceration to the War on Drugs, Hinton convincingly argues the modern era of mass incarceration originated not with tough-on-crime policies associated with the conservative backlash to the civil rights movement—beginning with President Nixon’s law-and-order politics and culminating in President Reagan’s War on Drugs—but with the liberal Johnson administration. With the passage of the Law Enforcement Assistance Act (LEAA) in September of 1965, President Johnson would launch the War on Crime—little more than a year into the War on Poverty. The LEAA, inspired in part by the Watts riot, provided funding to modernize local law enforcement, equipping urban police departments with technologies and tactics that had previously...

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