Kathleen Auerhahn is Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at Temple University.
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.
Against a background of contemporary concerns about dark money, plutocracies and populism, these chapters raise questions about the relationships between social justice and criminal justice and between democracy, knowledge and justice. Overall, the chapters also demonstrate the breadth, variety and vibrancy of contemporary criminology and include, amongst other cutting-edge contributions, chapters by John Braithwaite, Michelle Brown, Ian Loader, Pat O’Malley, Joe Sim, Susanne Karstedt, Phil Scraton, Richard Sparks, Loïc Wacquant and Sandra Walklate.
Justice Alternatives is essential reading for students of criminology, criminal justice and law, as well as for other scholars and activists concerned about social justice, policing, courts, imprisonment, mass supervision, rights and privatized justice. The book’s emphasis upon the importance of imagination, experimentation, innovation and debate aims to promote an optimism that there are always alternatives to inequality, domination and oppression.
This book explores the politics and ethics of critical social research, making a persuasive case for the application of critical theory to analysing the rule of law, its enforcement and the administration of criminal justice. It is indispensable for students in the fields of criminology, criminal justice and socio-legal studies, social policy and social work.
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.
Mass imprisonment, American-style, involves the penal segregation of large numbers of the poor and minorities. Imprisonment has become a central institution for the social control of the urban poor.
Other countries are now looking to the USA to see what should be learned from this massive and controversial social experiment. This book describes mass imprisonment's impact upon crime, upon the minority communities most affected, upon social policy and, more broadly upon national culture. This is a book that all penologists and poli