Crime and Punishment in America

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Macmillan, Oct 15, 1998 - Political Science - 230 pages
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There are five times as many Americans behind bars today as in 1970; California's prison system is the third largest in the world. One in three young black men is in prison, on parole, or on probation. Despite the recent declines in urban crime rates, we remain the most violent industrial society on earth. Though our massive investment in imprisonment has not resulted in an enduring public safety, politicians, policy makers, and the media continue to insist that America's unique problem of violence is the result of a lenient society "soft" on criminals; that incarcerating an ever larger proportion of our population is a "social program that works"; and that all other approaches to crime - from prevention to rehabilitation - have failed. Now, criminologist Elliott Currie dissects these myths in a short, hard-hitting, and accessible book sure to change the terms of the current debate. He also lays out a range of proven alternatives to mass incarceration, which, if we are wise enough to choose them, will finally reverse the tragic legacy of crime and punishment in America.
 

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Crime and punishment in America

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Currie (Univ. of California at Berkeley; Confronting Crime, 1987) explains that, "despite a recent dip in the crime rate, we remain far and away the most violent industrial society on earth" with "the ... Read full review

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Contents

Assessing the Prison Experiment
12
Prison Myths
37
Alternatives I Prevention
80
Alternatives II Social Action
110
Alternatives III The Justice System
162
Choices
185
Notes
195
Index
221
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About the author (1998)

Elliott Currie is the author of Confronting Crime, hailed as "original and incisive, the only realistic hope in years" (The New York Times), Reckoning, and the coauthor of the classic text Crisis in American Institutions. Currie has taught sociology and criminology at Yale University and the University of California at Berkeley. He has been a consultant to a wide range of organizations, including the National Advisory Council on Economic Opportunity and the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, and currently serves as vice-chair of the Eisenhower Foundation. An international authority on crime and punishment, Currie presently teaches in the Legal Studies Program at the University of California at Berkeley.

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