ATLANTA (Feb. 20, 2015) – Spelman College will host Michael A. Stoll, Ph.D, co-author of Why Are So Many Americans in Prison?, for a discussion about the proliferation of mass incarceration in the United States. In Why Are So Many Americans in Prison?, Stoll and co-author Steve Raphael analyze the expansion of America’s prison system and illustrate the pressing need to rethink mass incarceration in America. According to Dr. Stoll, between 1975 and 2007, the American incarceration rate increased nearly fivefold. During his lecture, he will delve into the factors that explain the incarceration rate, labor market consequences of mass incarceration and the benefits and costs of the prison boom.

Dr. Stoll is a professor of public policy at the Luskin School of Public Affairs at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is also a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

The lecture is sponsored by the Spelman College Office of the Provost, the Department of Economics and the Social Justice Fellows Program.

The lecture is free and open to the public.


“This lecture is important because mass incarceration is one of the most pressing civil rights issues of our time,” said Robynn Cox, Ph.D., Spelman College assistant professor in the Department of Economics. “It is imperative to understand why the prison system has expanded in the way that it has, especially since African Americans have been disproportionately affected by the incarceration crisis.  If we don’t understand how we got here, then we cannot appropriately address the issue. Stoll and Raphael empirically dissect the prison boom, and I think their findings will shock many people because they do not support the most common reasons that have been attributed to the prison boom.  Mass incarceration is an American epidemic, therefore, it is important that we become more educated about this crisis to learn what we can do about it and how we can keep it from happening in the future.”

Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015
6 p.m. – Book Talk
7 p.m. – Reception

Spelman College
Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby, Ed.D. Academic Center, Auditorium
GPS Address: 440 Westview Drive, Atlanta 30310

About Spelman College
Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a highly selective, liberal arts college widely recognized as the global leader in the education of women of African descent. Located in Atlanta, Ga., the college’s picturesque campus is home to 2,100 students. Outstanding alumnae include Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman; Sam’s Club CEO Rosalind Brewer; former acting Surgeon General and Spelman’s first alumna President Audrey Forbes Manley; former Harvard College Dean Evelynn Hammonds; author Pearl Cleage; and actress LaTanya Richardson Jackson. For more information, visit

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