Writing in the new foreword, Becker notes that this book is a "a masterful analysis of a systematically connected group of organizations, seeing them not as separate entities, but as a system whose organizational routines and peculiarities we couldn't understand if we didn't know their external connections as well as their internal workings." Its research methodology was painstaking: "The officials of the new system's components, especially the wardens of the individual prisons, had [many] questions on their minds. You couldn’t answer those questions by observing one of those prisons for a year or two." Not so in the author's decade of research leading up to this work. Indeed, Becker concludes, "Messinger's study provides the blueprint for more accurate and persuasive analyses of large organizations of every kind."
Simon writes in the new afterword that this book remains "an important contribution to understanding the nature of imprisonment and more broadly to the study of punishment in modern society," providing "a crucial background for rethinking the recent history of prisons and particularly the rise of mass incarceration, which has seen the proliferation of multi-prison systems, extensions of bureaucratic management within prisons, and the abandonment of rehabilitation as a central justification for punishment." Simon adds: "Creating a sociological analysis for such a complex extended network required a break with traditional sociological thinking," and going further in "suggesting another analytic shift from studying the 'prison system' to studying the broad array of agencies and authorities that made up 'the correctional establishment.'"
Policymakers, practitioners, and scholars who are interested in a better understanding of the relationship between correctional systems, their comprising organizational components, and practices will learn much from this study. It provides a truly original contribution to our sociological understanding of how formal organizations comprising a correctional system evolve and operate through a series of relationships ultimately producing control of the system itself, its prisons, and its inmates. Given the current focus on evidence-based justice, Messinger's documentation and unique interpretation of the organizational dynamics, interconnections, and dependencies within correctional systems are clearly relevant and crucial to the successful implementation of such “translational criminology” reforms.
— Thomas G. Blomberg
Dean and Sheldon L. Messinger Professor of Criminology
College of Criminology and Criminal Justice
Florida State University
Author, Advancing Criminology
Part of the Classics of Law & Society Series from Quid Pro Books, this foundational book is at last available to a general audience, researchers, and students in eBook form. Also available in new paperback and hardcover editions (2016).
Changes in legal conceptions of youth are interesting in their own right. They are also a useful way of examining important social, political, and economic changes. It is said that legal studies, "properly pursued, lead to a fuller understanding of the larger world of which the law and its institutions are a part." That is no less true when looking at "children" and "juveniles" through a legal lens.
The law often compartmentalizes underage persons with bright lines and legal fictions such as "parens patriae" to allow leeway for them that would not be tolerable for adults. The law creates huge divides based on status and age. The standards against which to judge the exit from adolescence are concrete and measurable: a single chronological age. And an adult is anyone the state legislature says is adult.
But life is not that simple, and the price we pay for sustaining such illusions is considerable. Adolescence is both a period in itself and a transition. This book takes seriously that status and the idea of transition, and attempts to explain the legal responses and concepts relevant to this important stage of life.
The 2014 digital edition includes a new preface by the author and such quality formatting features as active Contents, linked chapter notes, original tables from the print edition, and a fully-linked and paginated Index, to allow continuity with the print edition, citation and referencing, and the convenience of readers.
Sixteen-year-old Cassie Jo Stoddard agreed to house sit for relatives on the weekend of September 22, 2006. It was something the teenager had done before…but this time something went terribly wrong. When the family returned home at the end of the weekend they found Cassie lying on their living room floor brutally stabbed to death.
Detectives focused on two of Cassie’s classmates who had briefly visited her on the night that she was murdered: Torey Adamcik and Brian Draper. Initially both boys denied any knowledge of the crime, but after two separate interrogations, Brian Draper told detectives a chilling story of murder straight out of a horror movie. The two boys were immediately arrested, and a shocking videotape was discovered that seemed to depict the two teens not only planning the cold-blooded murder, but celebrating it.
Community outrage was strong and immediate. The public demanded justice. But was the video actually what it appeared to be: a cold-blooded documentary that detailed the plotting of Cassie’s murder; or something else entirely? Could anyone uncover the truth in time and convince a jury that sometimes things aren't always what they appear to be?
The Guilty Innocent is narrated by Shannon Adamcik, mother of Torey, one of the accused boys. It takes readers behind the scenes of a trial where prosecutors cared more about public opinion than truth, defense attorneys, who had never argued a murder case, were in over their heads, and a young boy’s life hung in the balance.
The United States is the only country in the world that will charge a juvenile as an adult and sentence them to life without parole. As the mother of one such child, I know exactly what happens when a juvenile is placed in adult court where they cannot defend themselves. They are immediately cut off from all human contact, locked in isolation, and railroaded through a justice system they simply cannot comprehend. Consequently, many of these juveniles are sentenced too much longer and harsher terms than their adult counterparts. I've personally lived through this, and I was compelled to write about it.
I began for the simple reason that I had lived through this horrendous ordeal and I ached for someone to confide in. But reliving the most painful part of my life was extraordinarily difficult. Ultimately the only reason that I was able to persevere was my deep belief that the story was important and needed to be told. That is still true.
This is a true story and no one can tell it better than the people who lived it. A crime reporter can look at the details of a case, but they cannot tell you how it feels to live through it. I can and I did. I used the pre-trial and trial transcripts, copies of the police reports, the autopsy and DNA reports, and DVD recordings of all of the evidence in the case. I've done copious research. But more importantly, I take readers step-by-step through what it feels like when your 16-year-old son is accused of first-degree murder; all the odds are stacked against him; and his defense is in the hands of attorneys you can’t fully trust to come through for you.