John Hagan argues that the recent history of American criminal justice can be divided into two eras--the age of Roosevelt (roughly 1933 to 1973) and the age of Reagan (1974 to 2008). A focus on rehabilitation, corporate regulation, and the social roots of crime in the earlier period was dramatically reversed in the later era. In the age of Reagan, the focus shifted to the harsh treatment of street crimes, especially drug offenses, which disproportionately affected minorities and the poor and resulted in wholesale imprisonment. At the same time, a massive deregulation of business provided new opportunities, incentives, and even rationalizations for white-collar crime--and helped cause the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent recession.
The time for moving beyond Reagan-era crime policies is long overdue, Hagan argues. The understanding of crime must be reshaped and we must reconsider the relative harms and punishments of street and corporate crimes. In a new afterword, Hagan assesses Obama's policies regarding the punishment of white-collar and street crimes and debates whether there is any evidence of a significant change in the way our country punishes them.
In A Colony in a Nation, New York Times best-selling author and Emmy Award–winning news anchor Chris Hayes upends the national conversation on policing and democracy. Drawing on wide-ranging historical, social, and political analysis, as well as deeply personal experiences with law enforcement, Hayes contends that our country has fractured in two: the Colony and the Nation. In the Nation, the law is venerated. In the Colony, fear and order undermine civil rights. With great empathy, Hayes seeks to understand this systemic divide, examining its ties to racial inequality, the omnipresent threat of guns, and the dangerous and unfortunate results of choices made by fear.