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Death in the Delta Cover

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Death in the Delta

Uncovering a Mississippi Family Secret

Molly Walling

Growing up, Molly Walling could not fathom the source of the dark and intense discomfort in her family home. Then in 2006 she discovered her father's complicity in the murder of two black men on December 12, 1946, in Anguilla, deep in the Mississippi Delta. Death in the Delta tells the story of one woman's search for the truth behind a closely held, sixty-year old family secret. Though the author's mother and father decided that they would protect their three children from that past, its effect was profound. When the story of a fatal shoot-out surfaced, apprehension turned into a devouring need to know.


Each of Walling's trips from North Carolina to the Delta brought unsettling and unexpected clues. After a hearing before an all-white grand jury, her father's case was not prosecuted. Indeed, it appeared as if the incident never occurred, and he resumed his life as a small-town newspaper editor. Yet family members of one of the victims tell her their stories. A ninety-three-year-old black historian and witness gives context and advice. A county attorney suggests her family's history of commingling with black women was at the heart of the deadly confrontation. Firsthand the author recognizes how privilege, entitlement, and racial bias in a wealthy, landed southern family resulted in a deadly abuse of power followed by a stifling, decades-long cover up.


Death in the Delta is a deeply personal account of a quest to confront a terrible legacy. Against the advice and warnings of family, Walling exposes her father's guilty agency in the deaths of Simon Toombs and David Jones. She also exposes his gift as a writer and creative thinker. The author, grappling with wrenching issues of family and honor, was long conflicted about making this story public. But her mission became one of hope that confronting the truth might somehow move others toward healing and reconciliation.

Death of the American Death Penalty Cover

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Death of the American Death Penalty

States Still Leading the Way

Larry W. Koch

The death penalty has largely disappeared as a national legislative issue and the Supreme Court has mainly bowed out, leaving the states at the cutting edge of abolition politics. This essential guide presents and explains the changing political and cultural challenges to capital punishment at the state level.

As with their previous volume, America Without the Death Penalty (Northeastern, 2002), the authors of this completely new volume concentrate on the local and regional relationships between death penalty abolition and numerous empirical factors, such as economic conditions; public sentiment; the roles of social, political, and economic elites; the mass media; and population diversity. They highlight the recent abolition of the practice in New York, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Illinois; the near misses in New Hampshire, Connecticut, Maryland, and Nebraska; the Kansas rollercoaster rides; and the surprising recent decline of the death penalty even in the deep South.

Abolition of the death penalty in the United States is a piecemeal process, with one state after another peeling off from the pack until none is left and the tragic institution finally is no more. This book tells you how, and why, that will likely happen.

The Delinquent Girl Cover

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The Delinquent Girl

Over the past decade and a half, girls’ involvement in the juvenile justice system has increased. Yet the topic remains under-studied among criminologists. The Delinquent Girl is a “state-of-the-field” evaluation that identifies and analyzes girls who become delinquent, the kinds of crimes they commit and the reasons they commit them. The distinguished academics and practitioners who contributed to this volume provide an overview of the research on girls’ delinquency, discuss policy implications and point to areas where further research is critically needed.

Devil's Game Cover

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Devil's Game

The Civil War Intrigues of Charles A. Dunham

Carman Cumming

The first book-length study of one of the Civil War's most outlandish and mysterious characters, Devil's Game traces the amazing career of Charles A. Dunham, double agent. _x000B__x000B_Dunham was a spy, forger, journalist, and master of dirty tricks. Writing for a variety of papers (including New York's Tribune, Herald, and World) under alternate names, he routinely faked stories, even writing contradictory accounts for different papers. Dunham also used his journalism to create new identities and then boldly cast himself to play the roles. With the help of his wife, Ophelia, he passed in and out of at least a half-dozen personae. _x000B__x000B_His characters included the vicious "Colonel" Charles Dunham, under the command of General Early; Colonel James Watson Wallace, a wounded Virginian convalescing in Montreal; and Colonel George Margrave, "one of the most cool and reckless villains in the Confederacy." In the South, he was known as Isaac Haynes, with still more aliases for his Canadian travels. Dunham would reinforce his house of cards by going so far as to have the invented characters in his ersatz stories accuse each other of heinous crimes. _x000B__x000B_Dunham achieved his greatest infamy at the war's end. Called to testify in Washington, he was the most notorious of the witnesses to swear that Lincoln's assassination had been plotted by conspirators in Montreal and Toronto, on orders from Richmond. These intrigues continued even from behind bars, as he worked tirelessly to build a network of evidence implicating President Andrew Johnson in the assassination. _x000B__x000B_Although this testimony was later discredited, until now many parts of Dunham's wartime (and postwar) career have remained shadowy. Carman Cumming sheds new light on numerous escapades, including Dunham's effort to sell Lincoln on plans for a raid to capture Jefferson Davis and a complex effort in Canada to plan--and then betray--cross-border raids. _x000B__x000B_Exhaustively researched and unprecedented in its depth, Devil's Game is a shocking portrait of a consummate chameleon. Drawing together all previous Dunham scholarship, Cumming offers the first detailed tour of Dunham's convoluted, high-stakes, international deceits. A carefully crafted assessment of Dunham's motives, personality, and the complex effects of his schemes make Devil's Game an important and original work that will change some basic assumptions about the secret operations of the Civil War.

Diet of Worms Cover

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Diet of Worms

Quality of Catering in Kenyan Prisons

Prison-reformation has been a controversial and politically charged issue in Kenya. In the past it has elicited such legendary and emotional responses as ìWhat reforms? Prisons are not supposed to be five star hotels!î Recently, however, there has been a greater consensus between the public sector and the civic society in Kenya - than has ever in the past - of the need to revisit the human rights of inmates in various Kenyan prisons. Since 2003 a number of ground breaking reforms have been introduced in Kenyan prisons and more reforms seem to be on the way. Jacqueline Korir in this book takes a serious and despassionate look into a single variable: the quality of catering in Kenyan prisons. Her findings were both shocking and challenging. The food was lacking in both nutritive value as well aesthetic appeal. The site of food samples was only reminiscent of a grotesque meaning of the famous Council in Church History - The Diet of Worms! This book, grounded, in empirical data analysis by hard statistics and backed by rare photographs from inside Kenyan prisons serves as an eye-opener to both the prison-reformists as well as students and teachers of African sociology and institutional catering all over the world.

Dime Novel Desperadoes Cover

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Dime Novel Desperadoes

The Notorious Maxwell Brothers

John E. Hallwas

This thrilling historical true crime narrative recovers the long-forgotten story of Ed and Lon Maxwell, outlaw brothers from Illinois who once rivaled Jesse and Frank James in national notoriety. Growing up hard as the sons of a tenant farmer, the Maxwell brothers embarked on a life of crime that captured the public eye. Made famous locally by newspapers that dramatized crimes and danger, the brothers achieved national prominence in 1881 when they shot and killed Charles and Milton Coleman, lawmen trying to apprehend them. Public outrage sparked the largest manhunt for outlaws in American history, involving some twenty posses who pursued the desperadoes in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, and Nebraska. Nevertheless, the daring desperadoes were eventually portrayed as heroes in sensationalistic dime novels._x000B__x000B_A stunning saga of robbery and horse stealing, gunfights and manhunts, murder and mob violence, Dime Novel Desperadoes also delves into the cultural and psychological factors that produced lawbreakers and created a crime wave in the post-Civil War era. Every overview and encyclopedia of American outlaws will need to be revised, and the fabled "Wild West" will have to be extended east of the Mississippi River, in response to this riveting chronicle. With more than forty illustrations and several maps that bring to life the exciting world of the Maxwell brothers, Dime Novel Desperadoes is a new classic in the annals of American outlawry._x000B_

Discretionary Justice Cover

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Discretionary Justice

Looking Inside a Juvenile Drug Court

Leslie Paik

Juvenile drug courts are on the rise in the United States, as a result of a favorable political climate and justice officials' endorsement of the therapeutic jurisprudence movement--the concept of combining therapeutic care with correctional discipline. Discretionary Justice overviews the system, taking readers behind the scenes of the juvenile drug court. Based on fifteen months of ethnographic fieldwork and interviews at a California court, Leslie Paik explores the staff's decision-making practices in assessing the youths' cases, concentrating on the way accountability and noncompliance are assessed.

Disrupted Childhoods Cover

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Disrupted Childhoods

Children of Women in Prison

Jane A. Siegel

Millions of children in the United States have a parent who is incarcerated and a growing number of these nurturers are mothers. Disrupted Childhoods explores the issues that arise from a mother's confinement and provides first-person accounts of the experiences of children with moms behind bars. Jane A. Siegel offers a perspective that recognizes differences over the long course of a family's interaction with the criminal justice system. Presenting an unparalleled view into the children's lives both before and after their mothers are imprisoned, this book reveals the many challenges they face from the moment such a critical caregiver is arrested to the time she returns home from prison. Based on interviews with nearly seventy youngsters and their mothers conducted at different points of their parent's involvement in the process, the rich qualitative data of Disrupted Childhoods vividly reveals the lived experiences of prisoners' children, telling their stories in their own words. Siegel places the mother's incarceration in context with other aspects of the youths' experiences, including their family life and social worlds, and provides a unique opportunity to hear the voices of a group that has been largely silent until now.

Do Prisons Make Us Safer? Cover

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Do Prisons Make Us Safer?

The Benefits and Costs of the Prison Boom

The number of people incarcerated in U.S. prisons and jails more than quadrupled between 1975 and 2005, reaching the unprecedented level of over two million inmates today. Annual corrections spending now exceeds 64 billion dollars, and many of the social and economic burdens resulting from mass incarceration fall disproportionately on minority communities. Yet crime rates across the country have also dropped considerably during this time period. In Do Prisons Make Us Safer? leading experts systematically examine the complex repercussions of the massive surge in our nation’s prison system. Do Prisons Make Us Safer? asks whether it makes sense to maintain such a large and costly prison system. The contributors expand the scope of previous analyses to include a number of underexplored dimensions, such as the fiscal impact on states, effects on children, and employment prospects for former inmates. Steven Raphael and Michael Stoll assess the reasons behind the explosion in incarceration rates and find that criminal behavior itself accounts for only a small fraction of the prison boom. Eighty-five percent of the trend can be attributed to “get tough on crime” policies that have increased both the likelihood of a prison sentence and the length of time served. Shawn Bushway shows that while prison time effectively deters and incapacitates criminals in the short term, long-term benefits such as overall crime reduction or individual rehabilitation are less clear cut. Amy Lerman conducts a novel investigation into the effects of imprisonment on criminal psychology and uncovers striking evidence that placement in a high security penitentiary leads to increased rates of violence and anger—particularly in the case of first time or minor offenders. Rucker Johnson documents the spill-over effects of parental incarceration—children who have had a parent serve prison time exhibit more behavioral problems than their peers. Policies to enhance the well-being of these children are essential to breaking a devastating cycle of poverty, unemployment, and crime. John Donohue’s economic calculations suggest that alternative social welfare policies such as education and employment programs for at-risk youth may lower crime just as effectively as prisons, but at a much lower human cost. The cost of hiring a new teacher is roughly equal to the cost of incarcerating an additional inmate. The United States currently imprisons a greater proportion of its citizens than any other nation in the world. Until now, however, we’ve lacked systematic and comprehensive data on how this prison boom has affected families, communities, and our nation as a whole. Do Prisons Make Us Safer? provides a highly nuanced and deeply engaging account of one of the most dramatic policy developments in recent U.S. history.

Doing Time in the Depression Cover

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Doing Time in the Depression

Everyday Life in Texas and California Prisons

As banks crashed, belts tightened, and cupboards emptied across the country, American prisons grew fat. Doing Time in the Depression tells the story of the 1930s as seen from the cell blocks and cotton fields of Texas and California prisons, state institutions that held growing numbers of working people from around the country and the world—overwhelmingly poor, disproportionately non-white, and displaced by economic crisis.

Ethan Blue paints a vivid portrait of everyday life inside Texas and California’s penal systems. Each element of prison life—from numbing boredom to hard labor, from meager pleasure in popular culture to crushing pain from illness or violence—demonstrated a contest between keepers and the kept. From the moment they arrived to the day they would leave, inmates struggled over the meanings of race and manhood, power and poverty, and of the state itself. In this richly layered account, Blue compellingly argues that punishment in California and Texas played a critical role in producing a distinctive set of class, race, and gender identities in the 1930s, some of which reinforced the social hierarchies and ideologies of New Deal America, and others of which undercut and troubled the established social order. He reveals the underside of the modern state in two very different prison systems, and the making of grim institutions whose power would only grow across the century.

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