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Clean Streets

Controlling Crime, Maintaining Order, and Building Community Activism

Patrick Carr

With the close proximity of gangs and the easy access to drugs, keeping urban neighborhoods safe from crime has long been a central concern for residents. In Clean Streets, Patrick Carr draws on five years of research in a white, working-class community on Chicago’s South side to see how they tried to keep their streets safe. Carr details the singular event for this community and the resulting rise of community activism: the shootings of two local teenage girls outside of an elementary school by area gang members. As in many communities struck by similar violence, the shootings led to profound changes in the community's relationship to crime prevention. Notably, their civic activism has proved successful and, years after the shooting, community involvement remains strong.

Carr mines this story of an awakened neighborhood for unique insights, contributing a new perspective to the national debate on community policing, civic activism, and the nature of social control. Clean Streets offers an important story of one community's struggle to confront crime and to keep their homes safe. Their actions can be seen as a model for how other communities can face up to similarly difficult problems.

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Clergy Sexual Abuse

Social Science Perspectives

Claire M. Renzetti

This book brings together experts primarily from the fields of criminology, criminal justice, law, and social work, but also cultural anthropology and psychology, to analyze clergy sexual abuse from the perspective of their individual disciplines. Contributors examine the latest data and analyses on the scope and impact of clergy sexual abuse, frame the problem in terms of sociological and criminological theories of crime and deviance, explore the social and legal issues the problem raises for the personal and communal life of faith communities, and discuss possibilities for reform, reconciliation, and healing. Covering sexual abuse of both minors and adults, chapters not only focus on the Catholic Church, but also examine Christian faith traditions more generally. The editors' introductory chapter identifies points of agreement and divergence among the essays, develops a coherent overview of the problem, and presents viable solutions to it.

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Colonial Systems of Control

Criminal Justice in Nigeria

Viviane Saleh-Hanna

A pioneering book on prisons in West Africa, Colonial Systems of Control: Criminal Justice in Nigeria is the first comprehensive presentation of life inside a West African prison. Chapters by prisoners inside Kirikiri maximum security prison in Lagos, Nigeria are published alongside chapters by scholars and activists. While prisoners document the daily realities and struggles of life inside a Nigerian prison, scholar and human rights activist Viviane Saleh-Hanna provides historical, political, and academic contexts and analyses of the penal system in Nigeria. The European penal models and institutions imported to Nigeria during colonialism are exposed as intrinsically incoherent with the community-based conflict-resolution principles of most African social structures and justice models. This book presents the realities of imprisonment in Nigeria while contextualizing the colonial legacies that have resulted in the inhumane brutalities that are endured on a daily basis.

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The Color of Crime (Second Edition)

Racial Hoaxes, White Fear, Black Protectionism, Police Harassment, and Other Macroaggressions

Katheryn Russell-Brown

When The Color of Crime was first published ten years ago, it was heralded as a path-breaking book on race and crime. Now, in its tenth anniversary year, Katheryn Russell-Brown's book is more relevant than ever. The Jena Six, Duke Lacrosse Team, Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell, James Byrd, and all of those victimized in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina are just a few of the racially fueled cases that have made headlines in the past decade.

Russell-Brown continues to ask, why do Black and White Americans perceive police actions so differently? Is White fear of Black crime justified? Do African Americans really protect their own? Should they? And why are we still talking about O.J.? Russell-Brown surveys the landscape of American crime and identifies some of the country's most significant racial pathologies. In this new edition, each chapter is updated and revised, and two new chapters have been added. Enriched with twenty-five new cases, the explosive and troublesome chapter on "Racial Hoaxes" demonstrates that "playing the race card" is still a popular ploy.

The Color of Crime is a lucid and forceful volume that calls for continued vigilance on the part of journalists, scholars, and policymakers alike. Through her innovative analysis of cases, ideological and media trends, issues, and practices that resonate below the public radar even in the new century, Russell-Brown explores the tacit and subtle ways that deviance is systematically linked to people of color. Her findings are impossible to ignore.

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Comic Book Crime

Truth, Justice, and the American Way

Nickie D. Phillips

“Carrying ahead the project of cultural criminology, Phillips and Strobl dare to take seriously that which amuses and entertains us—and to find in it the most significant of themes. Audiences, images, ideologies of justice and injustice—all populate the pages of Comic Book Crime. The result is an analysis as colorful as a good comic, and as sharp as the point on a superhero’s sword.”—Jeff Ferrell, author of Empire of Scrounge 
 
Superman, Batman, Daredevil, and Wonder Woman are iconic cultural figures that embody values of order, fairness, justice, and retribution. Comic Book Crime digs deep into these and other celebrated characters, providing a comprehensive understanding of crime and justice in contemporary American comic books.  This is a world where justice is delivered, where heroes save ordinary citizens from certain doom, where evil is easily identified and thwarted by powers far greater than mere mortals could possess. Nickie Phillips and Staci Strobl explore these representations and show that comic books, as a historically important American cultural medium, participate in both reflecting and shaping an American ideological identity that is often focused on ideas of the apocalypse, utopia, retribution, and nationalism. 
 
Through an analysis of approximately 200 comic books sold from 2002 to 2010, as well as several years of immersion in comic book fan culture, Phillips and Strobl reveal the kinds of themes and plots popular comics feature in a post-9/11 context. They discuss heroes’ calculations of “deathworthiness,” or who should be killed in meting out justice, and how these judgments have as much to do with the hero’s character as they do with the actions of the villains. This fascinating volume also analyzes how class, race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation are used to construct difference for both the heroes and the villains in ways that are both conservative and progressive. Engaging, sharp, and insightful, Comic Book Crime is a fresh take on the very meaning of truth, justice, and the American way.
 
Nickie D. Phillips is Associate Professor in the Sociology and Criminal Justice Department at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, NY.
 
Staci Strobl is Associate Professor in the Department of Law, Police Science and Criminal Justice Administration at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
 
In the Alternative Criminology series
 

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Community Criminology

Fundamentals of Spatial and Temporal Scaling, Ecological Indicators, and Selectivity Bias

For close to a century, the field of community criminology has examined the causes and consequences of community crime and delinquency rates. Nevertheless, there is still a lot we do not know about the dynamics behind these connections. In this book, Ralph Taylor argues that obstacles to deepening our understanding of community/crime links arise in part because most scholars have overlooked four fundamental concerns: how conceptual frames depend on the geographic units and/or temporal units used; how to establish the meaning of theoretically central ecological empirical indicators; and how to think about the causes and consequences of non-random selection dynamics.  
 
The volume organizes these four conceptual challenges using a common meta-analytic framework. The framework pinpoints critical features of and gaps in current theories about communities and crime, connects these concerns to current debates in both criminology and the philosophy of social science, and sketches the types of theory testing needed in the future if we are to grow our understanding of the causes and consequences of community crime rates. Taylor explains that a common meta-theoretical frame provides a grammar for thinking critically about current theories and simultaneously allows presenting these four topics and their connections in a unified manner. The volume provides an orientation to current and past scholarship in this area by describing three distinct but related community crime sequences involving delinquents, adult offenders, and victims. These sequences highlight community justice dynamics thereby raising questions about frequently used crime indicators in this area of research. A groundbreaking work melding past scholarly practices in criminology with the field’s current needs, Community Criminology is an essential work for criminologists.

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Compassionate Confinement

A Year in the Life of Unit C

Laura S. Abrams and Ben Anderson-Nathe

To date, knowledge of the everyday world of the juvenile correction institution has been extremely sparse. Compassionate Confinement brings to light the challenges and complexities inherent in the U.S. system of juvenile corrections. Building on over a year of field work at a boys’ residential facility, Laura S. Abrams and Ben Anderson-Nathe provide a context for contemporary institutions and highlight some of the system’s most troubling tensions.

            This ethnographic text utilizes narratives, observations, and case examples to illustrate the strain between treatment and correctional paradigms and the mixed messages regarding gender identity and masculinity that the youths are expected to navigate. Within this context, the authors use the boys’ stories to show various and unexpected pathways toward behavior change. While some residents clearly seized opportunities for self-transformation, others manipulated their way toward release, and faced substantial challenges when they returned home.

            Compassionate Confinement concludes with recommendations for rehabilitating this notoriously troubled system in light of the experiences of its most vulnerable stakeholders.

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Comprehending Drug Use

Ethnographic Research at the Social Margins

J. Bryan Page and Merrill Singer

Comprehending Drug Use, the first full-length critical overview of the use of ethnographic methods in drug research, synthesizes more than one hundred years of study on the human encounter with psychotropic drugs. It provides an examination of the field of drug ethnography-methodology that involves access to the hidden world of drug users, the social spaces they frequent, and the larger structural forces that help construct their worlds; explores intersections of drug ethnography with globalization, criminalization, public health (including the HIV/AIDS epidemic, hepatitis, and other diseases), and gender; and provides a guide of the methods and career paths of ethnographers.

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Condemned

Inside the Sing Sing Death House

Scott Christianson

In the annals of American criminal justice, two prisons stand out as icons of institutionalized brutality and deprivation: Alcatraz and Sing Sing. In the 70 odd years before 1963, when the death sentence was declared unconstitutional in New York, Sing Sing was the site of almost one-half of the 1,353 executions carried out in the state. More people were executed at Sing Sing than at any other American prison, yet Sing Sing's death house was, to a remarkable extent, one of the most closed, secret and mythologized places in modern America.

In this remarkable book, based on recently revealed archival materials, Scott Christianson takes us on a disturbing and poignant tour of Sing Sing's legendary death house, and introduces us to those whose lives Sing Sing claimed. Within the dusty files were mug shots of each newly arrived prisoner, most still wearing the out-to-court clothes they had on earlier that day when they learned their verdict and were sentenced to death. It is these sometimes bewildered, sometimes defiant, faces that fill the pages of Condemned, along with the documents of their last months at Sing Sing.

The reader follows prisoners from their introduction to the rules of Sing Sing, through their contact with guards and psychiatrists, their pleas for clemency, escape attempts, resistance, and their final letters and messages before being put to death. We meet the mother of five accused of killing her husband, the two young Chinese men accused of a murder during a robbery and the drifter who doesn't remember killing at all. While the majority of inmates are everyday people, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were also executed here, as were the major figures in the infamous Murder Inc., forerunner of the American mafia. Page upon page, Condemned leaves an indelible impression of humanity and suffering.

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Consensual Violence

Sex, Sports, and the Politics of Injury

Jill D. Weinberg

In this novel approach to understanding consent, Jill D. Weinberg features two case studies where groups engage in seemingly violent acts: competitive mixed martial arts and sexual sadomasochism. These activities are similar in that consenting to injury is central to the activity, and participants of both activities have to engage in a form of social decriminalization, leveraging the legal authority imbued in the language of consent as a way to render their activities legally and socially tolerable. Yet, these activities are treated differently under criminal battery law.
 
Using interviews with participants and ethnographic observation, Weinberg argues that where law authorizes a person’s consent to an activity, consent is not meaningfully regulated or constructed by the participants themselves. In contrast, where law prohibits a person’s consent to an activity, participants actively construct and regulate consent. This difference demonstrates that law can make consent less consensual.
 
Synthesizing criminal law and ethnography, Consensual Violence is a fascinating account of how consent gets created and carried out among participants and lays the groundwork for a sociology of consent and a more sociological understanding of processes of decriminalization.
 

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