Caught: The Prison State and the Lockdown of American Politics

Princeton University Press
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A major reappraisal of crime and punishment in America

The huge prison buildup of the past four decades has few defenders, yet reforms to reduce the numbers of those incarcerated have been remarkably modest. Meanwhile, an ever-widening carceral state has sprouted in the shadows, extending its reach far beyond the prison gate. It sunders families and communities and reworks conceptions of democracy, rights, and citizenship—posing a formidable political and social challenge. In Caught, Marie Gottschalk examines why the carceral state remains so tenacious in the United States. She analyzes the shortcomings of the two dominant penal reform strategies—one focused on addressing racial disparities, the other on seeking bipartisan, race-neutral solutions centered on reentry, justice reinvestment, and reducing recidivism.

With a new preface evaluating the effectiveness of recent proposals to reform mass incarceration, Caught offers a bracing appraisal of the politics of penal reform.

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About the author

Marie Gottschalk is professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania. A former journalist and editor, she was a member of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on the Causes and Consequences of High Rates of Incarceration. She is the author of, among other works, The Prison and the Gallows: The Politics of Mass Incarceration in America and The Shadow Welfare State: Labor, Business, and the Politics of Health Care in the United States.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Feb 16, 2016
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Pages
504
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ISBN
9781400880812
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Language
English
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Genres
Law / Criminal Law / General
Political Science / Public Policy / Social Policy
Political Science / Public Policy / Social Services & Welfare
Social Science / Criminology
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Almost everyone agrees--Right on Crime, the ACLU, Koch Industries, George Soros's Open Society Foundation, the editorial boards of the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal--that America's current systems for sentencing criminal offenders are a shambles, with crazy quilts of incompatible and conflicting laws, policies, and practices in every state and the federal system. Most everyone agrees that punishments are too severe, and too many people are in prison. However, the kinds of major changes required to undo mass incarceration and rebuild American sentencing are simply not happening. Despite well-intentioned rhetoric and media coverage, there has been very little meaningful change. In Sentencing Fragments, Michael Tonry explains what needs to be done to rebuild just systems of sentencing and punishment, and how to do it. This book tells the story of sentencing policy changes since 1975, examines research findings concerning their effects, and explains what does and does not work. Beyond calling attention to the devastating effects on the lives of the poor and disadvantaged and the latest empirical evidence, Tonry identifies the common moral theories behind criminal sentencing--as well as their larger assumptions about human nature--and discusses the ways in which different theories have bred very different sentencing policies. Sentencing Fragments concludes with a set of proposals for creating better policies and practices for the future, calling for American legislators and politicians to remake sentencing into the humane and just process that it always should have been. In lucid and engaging prose, Michael Tonry reveals the historical foundation for the current state of the American criminal justice system, while simultaneously offering a game plan for long overdue reform.
“A powerful call for reform.”
—NPR

An all-star team of criminal justice experts present timely, innovative, and humane ways to end mass incarceration

Mass incarceration will end—there is an emerging consensus that we’ve been locking up too many people for too long. But with more than 2.2 million Americans behind bars right now, how do we go about bringing people home? Decarcerating America collects some of the leading thinkers in the criminal justice reform movement to strategize about how to cure America of its epidemic of mass punishment.

With sections on front-end approaches, as well as improving prison conditions and re-entry, the book includes pieces by leaders across the criminal justice reform movement: Danielle Sered of Common Justice describes successful programs for youth with violent offenses; Robin Steinberg of the Bronx Defenders argues for more resources for defense attorneys to diminish plea bargains; Kathy Boudin suggests changes to the parole model; Jeannie Little offers an alternative for mental health and drug addiction issues; and Eric Lotke offers models of new industries to replace the prison economy. Editor Ernest Drucker applies the tools of epidemiology to help us cure what he calls "a plague of prisons."

Decarcerating America will be an indispensable roadmap as the movement to challenge incarceration in America gains critical mass—it shows us how to get people out of prisons, and the more appropriate responses to crime. The ideas presented in this volume are what we are fighting for when we fight against the New Jim Crow.
At no time in history, and certainly in no other democratic society, have prisons been filled so quickly and to such capacity than in the United States. And nowhere has this growth been more concentrated than in the disadvantaged--and primarily minority--neighborhoods of America's largest urban cities. In the most impoverished places, as much as 20% of the adult men are locked up on any given day, and there is hardly a family without a father, son, brother, or uncle who has not been behind bars. While the effects of going to and returning home from prison are well-documented, little attention has been paid to the impact of removal on neighborhoods where large numbers of individuals have been imprisoned. In the first detailed, empirical exploration of the effects of mass incarceration on poor places, Imprisoning Communities demonstrates that in high doses incarceration contributes to the very social problems it is intended to solve: it breaks up family and social networks; deprives siblings, spouses, and parents of emotional and financial support; and threatens the economic and political infrastructure of already struggling neighborhoods. Especially at risk are children who, research shows, are more likely to commit a crime if a father or brother has been to prison. Clear makes the counterintuitive point that when incarceration concentrates at high levels, crime rates will go up. Removal, in other words, has exactly the opposite of its intended effect: it destabilizes the community, thus further reducing public safety. Demonstrating that the current incarceration policy in urban America does more harm than good, from increasing crime to widening racial disparities and diminished life chances for youths, Todd Clear argues that we cannot overcome the problem of mass incarceration concentrated in poor places without incorporating an idea of community justice into our failing correctional and criminal justice systems.
The explosive rise in the U.S. incarceration rate in the second half of the twentieth century, and the racial transformation of the prison population from mostly white at mid-century to sixty-five percent black and Latino in the present day, is a trend that cannot easily be ignored. Many believe that this shift began with the "tough on crime" policies advocated by Republicans and southern Democrats beginning in the late 1960s, which sought longer prison sentences, more frequent use of the death penalty, and the explicit or implicit targeting of politically marginalized people. In The First Civil Right, Naomi Murakawa inverts the conventional wisdom by arguing that the expansion of the federal carceral state-a system that disproportionately imprisons blacks and Latinos-was, in fact, rooted in the civil-rights liberalism of the 1940s and early 1960s, not in the period after. Murakawa traces the development of the modern American prison system through several presidencies, both Republican and Democrat. Responding to calls to end the lawlessness and violence against blacks at the state and local levels, the Truman administration expanded the scope of what was previously a weak federal system. Later administrations from Johnson to Clinton expanded the federal presence even more. Ironically, these steps laid the groundwork for the creation of the vast penal archipelago that now exists in the United States. What began as a liberal initiative to curb the mob violence and police brutality that had deprived racial minorities of their 'first civil right-physical safety-eventually evolved into the federal correctional system that now deprives them, in unjustly large numbers, of another important right: freedom. The First Civil Right is a groundbreaking analysis of root of the conflicts that lie at the intersection of race and the legal system in America.
Winner of the NBCC Award for General Nonfiction

Named on Amazon's Best Books of the Year 2015--Michael Botticelli, U.S. Drug Czar (Politico) Favorite Book of the Year--Angus Deaton, Nobel Prize Economics (Bloomberg/WSJ) Best Books of 2015--Matt Bevin, Governor of Kentucky (WSJ) Books of the Year--Slate.com's 10 Best Books of 2015--Entertainment Weekly's 10 Best Books of 2015 --Buzzfeed's 19 Best Nonfiction Books of 2015--The Daily Beast's Best Big Idea Books of 2015--Seattle Times' Best Books of 2015--Boston Globe's Best Books of 2015--St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Best Books of 2015--The Guardian's The Best Book We Read All Year--Audible's Best Books of 2015--Texas Observer's Five Books We Loved in 2015--Chicago Public Library's Best Nonfiction Books of 2015

From a small town in Mexico to the boardrooms of Big Pharma to main streets nationwide, an explosive and shocking account of addiction in the heartland of America.

In 1929, in the blue-collar city of Portsmouth, Ohio, a company built a swimming pool the size of a football field; named Dreamland, it became the vital center of the community. Now, addiction has devastated Portsmouth, as it has hundreds of small rural towns and suburbs across America--addiction like no other the country has ever faced. How that happened is the riveting story of Dreamland.

With a great reporter's narrative skill and the storytelling ability of a novelist, acclaimed journalist Sam Quinones weaves together two classic tales of capitalism run amok whose unintentional collision has been catastrophic. The unfettered prescribing of pain medications during the 1990s reached its peak in Purdue Pharma's campaign to market OxyContin, its new, expensive--extremely addictive--miracle painkiller. Meanwhile, a massive influx of black tar heroin--cheap, potent, and originating from one small county on Mexico's west coast, independent of any drug cartel--assaulted small town and mid-sized cities across the country, driven by a brilliant, almost unbeatable marketing and distribution system. Together these phenomena continue to lay waste to communities from Tennessee to Oregon, Indiana to New Mexico.

Introducing a memorable cast of characters--pharma pioneers, young Mexican entrepreneurs, narcotics investigators, survivors, and parents--Quinones shows how these tales fit together. Dreamland is a revelatory account of the corrosive threat facing America and its heartland.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Evicted meets Nickel and Dimed in Stephanie Land's memoir about working as a maid, a beautiful and gritty exploration of poverty in America. Includes a foreword by Barbara Ehrenreich.

At 28, Stephanie Land's plans of breaking free from the roots of her hometown in the Pacific Northwest to chase her dreams of attending a university and becoming a writer, were cut short when a summer fling turned into an unexpected pregnancy. She turned to housekeeping to make ends meet, and with a tenacious grip on her dream to provide her daughter the very best life possible, Stephanie worked days and took classes online to earn a college degree, and began to write relentlessly.

She wrote the true stories that weren't being told: the stories of overworked and underpaid Americans. Of living on food stamps and WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) coupons to eat. Of the government programs that provided her housing, but that doubled as halfway houses. The aloof government employees who called her lucky for receiving assistance while she didn't feel lucky at all. She wrote to remember the fight, to eventually cut through the deep-rooted stigmas of the working poor.

Maid explores the underbelly of upper-middle class America and the reality of what it's like to be in service to them. "I'd become a nameless ghost," Stephanie writes about her relationship with her clients, many of whom do not know her from any other cleaner, but who she learns plenty about. As she begins to discover more about her clients' lives-their sadness and love, too-she begins to find hope in her own path.

Her compassionate, unflinching writing as a journalist gives voice to the "servant" worker, and those pursuing the American Dream from below the poverty line. Maid is Stephanie's story, but it's not her alone. It is an inspiring testament to the strength, determination, and ultimate triumph of the human spirit.
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