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Homicidal insanity has remained a vexation to both the psychiatric and legal professions despite the panorama of scientific and social change during the past 200 years. The predominant opinion today among psychiatrists is that no correlation exists between dangerousness and specific mental disorders. But for generation after generation, psychiatrists have reported cases of insane homicide that were clinically similar. Although psychiatric theory changed and psychiatric nosology was inconsistent, the mental phenomena psychiatrists identified in such cases remained the same. The central thesis of Homicidal Insanity is that as psychiatric theory changed, psychiatrists regarded these phenomena variously as symptoms of mental disease or the disease in itself. It is possible to trace these phenomena throughout the history of Anglo-American psychiatric theory and practice. A secondary thesis of the book is that psychiatrists have used these phenomena as predictors and markers in the practical matters of preventing insane homicide and of testifying in the courts to defend the irresponsible and expose the culpable.
The Story of the Houston Police Department
Houston Blue offers the first comprehensive history of one of the nation’s largest police forces, the Houston Police Department. Through extensive archival research and more than one hundred interviews with prominent Houston police figures, politicians, news reporters, attorneys, and others, authors Mitchel P. Roth and Tom Kennedy chronicle the development of policing in the Bayou City from its days as a grimy trading post in the 1830s to its current status as the nation’s fourth largest city. Prominent historical figures who have brushed shoulders with Houston’s Finest over the past 175 years include Houdini, Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders, O. Henry, former Texas Ranger Frank Hamer, hatchet wielding temperance leader Carrie Nation, the Hilton Siamese Twins, blues musician Leadbelly, oilman Silver Dollar Jim West, and many others. The Houston Police Department was one of the first cities in the South to adopt fingerprinting as an identification system and use the polygraph test, and under the leadership of its first African American police chief, Lee Brown, put the theory of neighborhood oriented policing into practice in the 1980s. The force has been embroiled in controversy and high profile criminal cases as well. Among the cases chronicled in the book are the Dean Corll, Dr. John Hill, and Sanford Radinsky murders; controversial cases involving the department’s crime lab; the killings of Randy Webster and Joe Campos Torres; and the Camp Logan, Texas Southern University, and Moody Park Riots.
Why Cops Over-Police the Poor and Racial Minorities
This ethnographic study, which includes participant observation research and in-depth interviews with police officers in a major California city and a large East Coast city, explores how police officers use their discretionary time on the job--and the consequences. Providing highly textured insights into police discretion, the authors show that America's "tough on crime" approach to justice has too often proved to be a smoke screen for controlling people deemed undesirable, rather than a genuinely effective strategy for reducing crime.
In 1921, Robert E. Burns was a shell-shocked and penniless veteran who found himself at the mercy of Georgia's barbaric penal system when he fell in with a gang of petty thieves. Sentenced to six to ten years' hard labor for his part in a robbery that netted less than $6.00, Burns was shackled to a county chain gang. After four months of backbreaking work, he made a daring escape, dodging shotgun blasts, racing through swamps, and eluding bloodhounds on his way north.
For seven years Burns lived as a free man. He married and became a prosperous Chicago businessman and publisher. When he fell in love with another woman, however, his jealous wife turned him in to the police, who arrested him as a fugitive from justice. Although he was promised lenient treatment and a quick pardon, he was back on a chain gang within a month. Undaunted, Burns did the impossible and escaped a second time, this time to New Jersey. He was still a hunted man living in hiding when this book was first published in 1932.
The book and its movie version, nominated for a Best Picture Oscar in 1933, shocked the world by exposing Georgia's brutal treatment of prisoners. I Am a Fugitive from a Georgia Chain Gang! is a daring and heartbreaking book, an odyssey of misfortune, love, betrayal, adventure, and, above all, the unshakable courage and inner strength of the fugitive himself.
Motives and Methods
The first book to examine identity theft from the offender’s perspective Although identity theft is one of the fastest growing economic crimes in the United States, researchers have devoted little attention to understanding identity thieves. Basing their work on interviews with 59 inmates serving time in federal prison for a variety of identity theft crimes, Copes and Vieraitis use criminological and sociological theories to gain insight into the cognitive, behavioral, and organizational aspects of identity theft. They also offer policy recommendations to reduce the ever-increasing threat of this crime.
Sex, Crime, and Vice in Porfirian Mexico City
The Social Effects of Mass Incarceration
Over the last thirty years, the U.S. penal population increased from around 300,000 to more than two million, with more than half a million prisoners returning to their home communities each year. What are the social costs to the communities from which this vast incarcerated population comes? And what happens to these communities when former prisoners return as free men and women in need of social and economic support? In Imprisoning America, an interdisciplinary group of leading researchers in economics, criminal justice, psychology, sociology, and social work goes beyond a narrow focus on crime to examine the connections between incarceration and family formation, labor markets, political participation, and community well-being. The book opens with a consideration of the impact of incarceration on families. Using a national survey of young parents, Bruce Western and colleagues show the enduring corrosive effects of incarceration on marriage and cohabitation, even after a prison sentence has been served. Kathryn Edin, Timothy Nelson, and Rechelle Parnal use in-depth life histories of low-income men in Philadelphia and Charleston, to study how incarceration not only damages but sometimes strengthens relations between fathers and their children. Imprisoning America then turns to how mass incarceration affects local communities and society at large. Christopher Uggen and Jeff Manza use survey data and interviews with thirty former felons to explore the political ramifications of disenfranchising inmates and former felons. Harry Holzer, Stephen Raphael, and Michael Stoll examine how poor labor market opportunities for former prisoners are shaped by employers’ (sometimes unreliable) background checks. Jeremy Travis concludes that corrections policy must extend beyond incarceration to help former prisoners reconnect with their families, communities, and the labor market. He recommends greater collaboration between prison officials and officials in child and family welfare services, educational and job training programs, and mental and public health agencies. Imprisoning America vividly illustrates that the experience of incarceration itself—and not just the criminal involvement of inmates—negatively affects diverse aspects of social membership. By contributing to the social exclusion of an already marginalized population, mass incarceration may actually increase crime rates, and threaten the public safety it was designed to secure. A rigorous portrayal of the pitfalls of getting tough on crime, Imprisoning America highlights the pressing need for new policies to support ex-prisoners and the families and communities to which they return.
Preventing Wrongful Convictions and Restoring the Criminal Justice System
Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2008
DNA testing and advances in forensic science have shaken the foundations of the U.S. criminal justice system. One of the most visible results is the exoneration of inmates who were wrongly convicted and incarcerated, many of them sentenced to death for crimes they did not commit. This has caused a quandary for many states: how can claims of innocence be properly investigated and how can innocent inmates be reliably distinguished from the guilty? In answer, some states have created "innocence commissions" to establish policies and provide legal assistance to the improperly imprisoned.
The Innocence Commission describes the creation and first years of the Innocence Commission for Virginia (ICVA), the second innocence commission in the nation and the first to conduct a systematic inquiry into all cases of wrongful conviction. Written by Jon B. Gould, the Chair of the ICVA, who is a professor of justice studies and an attorney, the author focuses on twelve wrongful conviction cases to show how and why wrongful convictions occur, what steps legal and state advocates took to investigate the convictions, how these prisoners were ultimately freed, and what lessons can be learned from their experiences.
Gould recounts how a small band of attorneys and other advocates — in Virginia and around the country — have fought wrongful convictions in court, advanced the subject of wrongful convictions in the media, and sought to remedy the issue of wrongful convictions in the political arena. He makes a strong case for the need for Innocence Commissions in every state, showing that not only do Innocence Commissions help to identify weaknesses in the criminal justice system and offer workable improvements, but also protect society by helping to ensure that actual perpetrators are expeditiously identified, arrested, and brought to trial. Everyone has an interest in preventing wrongful convictions, from police officers and prosecutors, who seek the latest and best investigative techniques, to taxpayers, who want an efficient criminal justice system, to suspects who are erroneously pursued and sometimes convicted.
Free of legal jargon and written for a general audience, The Innocence Commission is instructive, informative, and highly compelling reading.
The field of corrections comprises three distinct areas of study: institutional corrections (jails and prisons), community corrections (probation and parole), and intermediate sanctions (community service, boot camps, intensive supervision programs, home confinement and electronic monitoring, halfway houses, day reporting, fines, and restitution). Intermediate Sanctions in Corrections is the first non-edited book devoted completely to intermediate sanctions systems and their individual programs. It begins with an overview of the background and foundation of intermediate sanctions programs and then describes in clear detail each program and its effectiveness. Caputo supports every point with thorough and up-to-date research. Jon’a Meyer, an expert on this field, contributes a chapter on home confinement. Aimed at students, scholars, and policymakers, Intermediate Sanctions in Corrections will be used in the many undergraduate criminal justice courses devoted to corrections and intermediate sanctions.
Gender, Family, and Illegality among Transnational Mexicans