Selective Incapacitation and Public Policy: Evaluating California's Imprisonment Crisis

SUNY Press
Free sample

From the 1970s to the new millennium, the prison population in the United States has quadrupled while an unprecedented amount of sentencing reform has taken place, largely intended to protect the public from dangerous criminals. This book details the California experience, including the history and politics of criminal sentencing policy reform, as well as the consequences of this activity to the criminal justice system. Using cutting-edge computer simulation modeling, Kathleen Auerhahn explores the impact that sentencing reforms dating back to the 1970s have had on the composition and structure of the criminal justice system, with specific focus on prison populations. She illustrates how dynamic systems simulation modeling is used to both examine “possible futures” under a variety of sentencing structures and sentencing policy alternatives, including narrowing “strike zones” and the early release of elderly offenders, in order to more effectively target the dangerous criminals these policies promise to remove from society via incarceration.
Read more
Collapse

About the author

Kathleen Auerhahn is Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at Temple University.

Read more
Collapse
Loading...

Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
Read more
Collapse
Published on
Feb 1, 2012
Read more
Collapse
Pages
236
Read more
Collapse
ISBN
9780791486412
Read more
Collapse
Read more
Collapse
Best For
Read more
Collapse
Language
English
Read more
Collapse
Genres
Social Science / Criminology
Social Science / Penology
Social Science / Sociology / General
Read more
Collapse
Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
Read more
Collapse
Eligible for Family Library

Reading information

Smartphones and Tablets

Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are.

Laptops and Computers

You can read books purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.

eReaders and other devices

To read on e-ink devices like the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.
In September 1996, fifty-three year old heroin addict Billy Ochoa was sentenced to 326 years in prison. His crime: committing $2100 worth of welfare fraud. Ochoa was sent to New Folsom supermax prison, joining thousands of other men who will spend the rest of their lives in California's teeming correctional facilities as a result of that state's tough Three Strikes law. His incarceration will cost over $20,000 a year until he dies.

Hard Time Blues weaves together the story of the growth of the American prison system over the past quarter century primarily through the story of Ochoa, a career criminal who grew up in the barrios of post-World War II L.A. Ochoa, who had a long history of non-violent crimes committed to fund his drug habit, who cycled in and out of prison since the late 1960's, is a perfect example of how perennial misfits, rather than blood-soaked violent criminals, make up the majority of America's prisoners. This is also the story of the burgeoning careers of politicians such as former California Governor Pete Wilson, who rose to power on the "crime issue." Wilson, whose grandfather was a cop murdered by drug-runners in early twentieth century Chicago, scored a stunning come-from-behind re-election victory in 1994. In so doing, he came to epitomize the 1990s tough-on-crime politician.

Award-winning journalist Sasha Abramsky uses immersion reportage to bring alive the political forces that have led America's prison and jail population to increase more than four fold in the past twenty years. Through the stories of Ochoa, Wilson, and others, he explores in devastating detail how the public has been manipulated into supporting mass incarceration during a period when crime rates have been steadily falling. Hard Time Blues deftly explores the War on Drugs, the Rockefeller Laws, the growth of the SuperMax Prisons, the climate of fear that led to laws such as Truth-in-Sentencing, and how the stunning repercussions of imprisoning two million citizens affect all of America.

In the tradition of J. Anthony Lukas's Common Ground and Melissa Fay Greene's The Temple Bombing, Abramsky explores this new and dangerous fault-line in American society in a dramatic and compelling manner. From the opening courtroom scene through the final images behind the electrified fences of the nation's toughest, meanest prisons, Abramsky paints a grimly intimate portrait of the players and personalities behind this societal earthquake. Hard Time Blues combines a sense of history with a powerful narrative, to tell a story about issues and people that leads us to understand how The Land of the Free has become the world's largest prison nation.

While crime, law, and punishment are subjects that have everyday meanings not very far from their academic representations, "social control" is one of those terms that appear in the sociological discourse without any corresponding everyday usage. This concept has a rather mixed lineage. "After September 11" has become a slogan that conveys all things to all people but carries some very specific implications on interrogation and civil liberties for the future of punishment and social control.

The editors hold that the already pliable boundaries between ordinary and political crime will become more unstable; national and global considerations will come closer together; domestic crime control policies will be more influenced by interests of national security; measures to prevent and control international terrorism will cast their reach wider (to financial structures and ideological support); the movements of immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers will be curtailed and criminalized; taken-for-granted human rights and civil liberties will be restricted. In the midst of these dramatic social changes, hardly anyone will notice the academic field of "punishment and social control" being drawn closer to political matters.

Criminology is neither a "pure" academic discipline nor a profession that offers an applied body of knowledge to solve the crime problem. Its historical lineage has left an insistent tension between the drive to understand and the drive to be relevant. While the scope and orientation of this new second edition remain the same, in recognition of the continued growth and diversity of interest in punishment and social control, new chapters have been added and several original chapters have been updated and revised.

©2019 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersArtistsAbout Google|Location: United StatesLanguage: English (United States)
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.