Policing the Poor: From Slave Plantation to Public Housing

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Northeastern University Press, 2001 - Political Science - 278 pages
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While many applaud the apparent successes of community and saturation policing, Neil Websdale contends Instead that such law enforcement initiatives oppress rather than protect the poor, particularly African Americans in large urban centers. Based on a groundbreaking ethnographic study of public housing projects in Nashville, Tennessee, he argues persuasively that community policing is a critical component of a criminal justice juggernaut designed to manage or regulate stigmatized populations, much like slave patrols served as agents for social control on Southern plantations. In a work that is sure to stir controversy and heated debate, Websdale draws on extensive field research, documentary sources, and interviews to illuminate how a criminal justice system deeply rooted in racism and siavery destroys the black family, creates a form of selective breeding, and undermines the civil rights gains of the 1960s. Unlike previous studies of community policing, which analyze programs through the lens of law enforcement, this book focuses on the history, experiences, and perspectives of the people whose lives are most affected by today's policing strategies. Skillfully blending the voices

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Policing the Poor: From Slave Plantation to Public Housing (Northeastern Series on Gender, Crime, and Law)

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Websdale (criminal justice, Northern Arizona Univ.; Understanding Domestic Homicide) challenges the popular belief that community policing is all good and benefits the poor. Sharing the results of ... Read full review


Policing Society and History
The Nashville Poor
Policing Social Upheaval

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About the author (2001)

Neil Websdale is associate professor of criminal justice, Northern Arizona University. He is the author of "Rural Woman Battering and the Justice System: An Ethnography".

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