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The Life and Death of Prison Reform
Should prisons attempt reform and uplift inmates or, by means of principled punishment, deter them from further wrongdoing? This debate has raged in Western Europe and in the United States at least since the late eighteenth century. Joseph F. Spillane examines the failure of progressive reform in New York State by focusing on Coxsackie, a New Deal reformatory built for young male offenders. Opened in 1935 to serve “adolescents adrift,” Coxsackie instead became an unstable and brutalizing prison. From the start, the liberal impulse underpinning the prison’s mission was overwhelmed by challenges it was unequipped or unwilling to face—drugs, gangs, and racial conflict. Spillane draws on detailed prison records to reconstruct a life behind bars in which “ungovernable” young men posed constant challenges to racial and cultural order. The New Deal order of the prison was unstable from the start; the politics of punishment quickly became the politics of race and social exclusion, and efforts to save liberal reform in postwar New York only deepened its failures. In 1977, inmates took hostages to focus attention on their grievances. The result was stricter discipline and an end to any pretense that Coxsackie was a reform institution. Why did the prison fail? For answers, Spillane immerses readers in the changing culture and racial makeup of the U.S. prison system and borrows from studies of colonial prisons, which emblemized efforts by an exploitative regime to impose cultural and racial restraint on others. In today’s era of mass incarceration, prisons have become conflict-ridden warehouses and powerful symbols of racism and inequality. This account challenges the conventional wisdom that America’s prison crisis is of comparatively recent vintage, showing instead how a racial and punitive system of control emerged from the ashes of a progressive ideal.
"This book is superb in every way.... [It] is the only book that attempts to put into perspective just what the possible relationship between praxis and Marxist criminology might (should) be." â€”Eleanor Miller, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee In this expanded and updated second edition of a revered reader in Marxist criminology, editor David F. Greenberg brings together writings about crime that range from classic articles by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels to a variety of contemporary essays. Taking an explicitly Marxist point of view, the articles deal with various aspects of criminology, including organized crime, delinquency, urban crime, criminal law, and criminal justice. To the original text, Greenberg has added pieces on race and crime, gender and crime, rape, arson for profit, and auto theft. With extensive prefatory material prepared by Greenberg, as well as editorial notes, and a glossary of Marxist terminology, Crime and Capitalism is an indispensable text for students and professionals in the fields of criminology, criminal justice, social history, and sociology.
Selected Essays of Joan McCord
During this transitional period, basic features of the modern Argentine criminal justice system emerged. Osvaldo Barreneche studies these characteristics in detail: the institutional subordination of the judiciary; police interference and disruption in the relationships between the judiciary and civil society; the manipulation of the initial stages of the judicial process by senior police officers; and the use of institutionally malleable penal-legal procedures as a punitive system regardless of the judicially evaluated outcome of criminal cases.
Through analysis of criminal cases, Barreneche shows how different interpretations of liberalism, the changing roles of the new police and the military, and the institutionalization of education all contributed to the debate on penal reform during Argentina’s transition from colony to state. Only through understanding the historical development of legal and criminal procedures can contemporary social scientists come to grips with the struggle between democracy and authoritarianism in modern Argentina.
Law and the Behavioral Sciences in Conflict
In Crime, Punishment, and Mental Illness, Patricia E. Erickson and Steven K. Erickson explore how societal beliefs about free will and moral responsibility have shaped current policies and they identify the differences among the goals, ethos, and actions of the legal and health care systems. Drawing on high-profile cases, the authors provide a critical analysis of topics, including legal standards for competency, insanity versus mental illness, sex offenders, psychologically disturbed juveniles, the injury and death rates of mentally ill prisoners due to the inappropriate use of force, the high level of suicide, and the release of mentally ill individuals from jails and prisons who have received little or no treatment.
Methods of Forensic Detection
The O.J. Simpson trial. The Lindbergh kidnapping. The death of Marilyn Monroe. The assassination of the Romanovs. The Atlanta child murders. All controversial cases. All investigated with the latest techniques in forensic science. Nationally respected investigators Joe Nickell and John Fischer explain the science behind the criminal investigations that have captured the nation's attention. Crime Science is the only comprehensive guide to forensics. Without being overly technical or treating scientific techniques superficially, the authors introduce readers to the work of firearms experts, document examiners, fingerprint technicians, medical examiners, and forensic anthropologists. Each topic is treated in a separate chapter, in a clear and understandable style. Nickell and Fisher describe fingerprint classification and autopsies, explain how fibers link victims to their killers, and examine the science underlying DNA profiling and toxicological analysis. From weapons analysis to handwriting samples to shoe and tire impressions, Crime Science outlines the indispensable tools and techniques that investigators use to make sense of a crime scene. Each chapter closes with a study of a well-known case, revealing how the principles of forensic science work in practice.
Civil Disobedience, Criminal Justice, and the Politics of Conscience
From animal rights to anti-abortion, from tax resistance to anti-poverty, activists from across the political spectrum often deliberately break the law to further their causes. While not behaviors common to hardened or self-seeking criminals, the staging of civil disobedience, non-violent resistance, and direct action can nevertheless trigger a harsh response from law enforcement, with those arrested risking jail time and criminal records. Crimes of Dissent features the voices of these activists, presenting a fascinating insider's look at the motivations, costs and consequences of deliberately violating the law as a strategy of social change.
Crimes of Dissent provides readers with an in-depth understanding of why activists break the law, and what happens to them when they do. Using dynamic examples, both historic and recent, Jarret Lovell explores how seasoned protesters are handled and treated by the criminal justice system, shedding light on the intersection between the political and the criminal. By adopting the unique vantage of the street-level activist, Crimes of Dissent provides a fascinating view of protest from the ground, giving voice to those who refuse to remain silent by risking punishment for their political actions.
The U.S. Response to Terror
Since 9/11, a new configuration of power situated at the core of the executive branch of the U.S. government has taken hold. In Crimes of Power & States of Impunity, Michael Welch takes a close look at the key historical, political, and economic forces shaping the country’s response to terror.
Understanding Biological Theories of Crime
What is the relationship between criminality and biology? Nineteenth-century phrenologists insisted that criminality was innate, a trait inherent in the offender's brain matter. While they were eventually repudiated as pseudo-scientists and self-deluded charlatans, today the pendulum has swung back. Both criminologists and biologists have begun to speak of a tantalizing but disturbing possibility: that criminality may be inherited as a set of genetic deficits that place one at risk for theft, violence, and sexual deviance. If that is so, we may soon confront proposals for genetically modifying "at risk" fetuses or doctoring up criminals so their brains operate like those of law-abiding citizens. In The Criminal Brain, well-known criminologist Nicole Rafter traces the sometimes violent history of these criminological theories and provides an introduction to current biological theories of crime, or biocriminology, with predictions of how these theories are likely to develop in the future.
What do these new theories assert? Are they as dangerous as their forerunners, which the Nazis and other eugenicists used to sterilize, incarcerate, and even execute thousands of supposed "born" criminals? How can we prepare for a future in which leaders may propose crime-control programs based on biology? Enhanced with fascinating illustrations and written in lively prose, The Criminal Brain examines these issues in light of the history of ideas about the criminal brain. By tracing the birth and growth of enduring ideas in criminology, as well as by recognizing historical patterns in the interplay of politics and science, she offers ways to evaluate new theories of the criminal brain that may radically reshape ideas about the causes of criminal behavior.