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The Politics of Injustice

The Politics of Injustice
Crime and Punishment in America

Second Edition

October 2003 | 272 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Published in Association with ASA, ASC, ACJS, American Political Science Assoc.

The U.S. crime rate has dropped steadily for more than a decade, yet the rate of incarceration continues to skyrocket. Today, more than 2 million Americans are locked in prisons and jails with devastating consequences for poor families and communities, overcrowded institutions and overburdened taxpayers. How did the U.S. become the world's leader in incarceration? Why have the numbers of women, juveniles, and people of color increased especially rapidly among the imprisoned?

The Politics of Injustice: Crime and Punishment in America, Second Edition
is the first book to make widely accessible the new research on crime as a political and cultural issue. Katherine Beckett and Theodore Sasson provide readers with a robust analysis of the roles of crime, politics, media imagery and citizen activism in the making of criminal justice policy in the age of mass incarceration.

Features of this text:

  • Critical Approach. Debunks myths about crime in the U.S., challenges many current anticrime policies that became harsher in the 1990s, and illuminates the political implications of crime and punishment.
  • Contemporary. Updated throughout with particular attention to Chapter 5, "Crime in the Media," including research and analyses of crime in the news, crime as entertainment, and the interplay of news media, entertainment, and crime.
  • Comprehensive Research. Draws on a wide range of scholarship, including research on crime's representation in political discourse and the mass media, public opinion, crime-related activism, and public policy.
  • Consistent and Accessible. A great source to communicate new research to both non-specialists and specialists in accessible language with riveting, real-life examples.

Intended as a supplement for use in any criminal justice or criminology course, especially in the punishment, corrections and policy areas, The Politics of Injustice, Second Edition will appeal to those who take a critical approach to crime issues.

Chapter 1. Criminal Justice Expansion
Explaining the Expansion of the Penal System  
Outline of the Book  
Chapter 2. Crime in the United States
Crime in Historical Perspective  
Crime in Comparative Perspective  
Chapter 3. Murder, American Style
Popular Explanations of Violence  
Inequality and Homicide  
Chapter 4. The Politics of Crime
The Origins of the Discourse of Law and Order  
From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime  
From the War on Crime to the War on Drugs  
Chapter 5. Crime in the Media
Crime in the News  
Crime as Entertainment  
The Police Drama  
The Crime Film  
The "Reality-Based" Cop Show  
Media Imagery and Public Opinion  
Chapter 6. Crime and Public Opinion
Fear of Crime  
Crime as a Social Problem  
Popular Punitiveness  
Understanding Popular Punitiveness  
Alternatives to Punitiveness  
Minority Dissent  
Chapter 7. Activism and the Politics of Crime
Community-Based Crime Prevention Efforts  
The Victim Rights Movement  
Adverasarial Activism: Human Rights Campaigns Against Police Brutality, Capital Punishment, and the War on Drugs  
Chapter 8. Crime and Public Policy
Drug Policing
Punitive Sentencing  
Return of Capital Punishment  
Retreat From Juvenile Justice  
Prisoner Warehousing  
The Surveillance Society  
Criminal Justice and Democracy  
Chapter 9. Alternatives
Social Investment  
Harm Reduction  
Alternative Sentencing  
Rehabilitating Reintegration  
Toward Disarmament  
Community Policing  

Perfect fit for my race, politics, and injustice class

Dr Mark Leymon
Criminology and Criminal Justice, Portland State University
September 12, 2013

Was looking for a text more focused on women-- will use this as a supplemental text

Dr Angela Barlow
Sociology Anthropology Dept, East Tennessee State University
July 24, 2013
Key features
  • This book provides readers with a better understanding of the nature of crime and punishment in the U.S., as well as the cultural and political contexts in which they occur.
  • It debunks myths about crime in the U.S., while challenging many current anti-crime policies that became harsher in the 1990s.
  • It draws on a wide range of scholarship, including research on crime's representation in political discourse and the mass media, public opinion, crime-related activism, and public policy.
  • The book is a great source to communicate this new research to nonspecialists and specialists alike. 
  • The new edition will be updated throughout. In particular, Ch.5 on the media coverage of crime received the greatest revision.

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ISBN: 9780761929949

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