Power, Politics, and Crime
In the United States today, we are on the verge of fulfilling a nightmare scenario. Parents are fearful of letting their children play in their own yards and elderly people are afraid to leave their homes. The bogeyman in this rampant panic about crime is the young black male, who, in the media and public image, is a ”superpredator” lurking on every street corner ready to attack any prey that is vulnerable. But is crime in America really as bad as the public has been made to believe? Power, Politics, and Crime argues that the current panic over crime has been manufactured by the media, law enforcement bureaucracies, and the private prison industry. It shows how the definition of criminal behavior systematically singles out the inner-city African American. But urban minorities aren’t the only victims. Although crime rates have been declining for 25 years, vast amounts of money pour into the criminal justice-industrial complex, diverting scarce resources from other social services such as education, social welfare, and health care. While in recent years downsizing has affected almost every segment of the public sector, the criminal justice bureaucracies have seen an unprecedented expansion.Through ethnographic observations, analysis of census data, and historical research, William Chambliss describes what is happening, why it has come about, and what can be done about it. He explores the genesis of crime as a political issue, and the effect that crime policies have had on different segments of the population. The book is more than a statement about the politics of crime and punishment—it’s a powerful indictment of contemporary law enforcement practices in the United States.
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Misperceptions of Crime
The Politics of Fear
The Politics of Crime Statistics
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