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Crime and Punishment in America (98 - Old Edition)

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There are five times as many Americans behind bars today as in 1970. The national incarceration rate in 1997 was twice that in 1985. California's prison system has become the third largest in the world. And despite some limited recent declines in crime rates, we remain by far the most violent industrial society on earth.

Though our massive investment in the prison system has not resulted in enduring public safety, politicians and the media continue to insist that America's unique problem of violence is the result of a lenient society "soft" on criminals; that incarcerating an ever-larger proportion of our population is a "social program that works;" and that all other approaches to crime--from prevention to rehabilitation--have failed. Nationally acclaimed criminologist Elliott Currie dissects these myths in a groundbreaking book that is already changing the terms of the current debate.

Elliott Currie is the author of Confronting Crime, hailed as "original and incisive, the only realistic hope in years" by The New York Times, and Reckoning. He is also co-author of the classic text Crisis in American Institutions. Currie has taught sociology and criminology at Yale University and the University of California at Berkeley, and has been a consultant to a wide range of organizations, including the National Advisory Council on Economic Opportunity and the National Council on Crime and Delinquency. He currently serves as vice-chair of the Eisenhower Foundation. An international authority on crime and punishment, Currie also teaches in the Legal Studies Program at the University of California at Berkeley.

Five times as many Americans are in prison today as in 1970. The national incarceration rate in 1997 was twice that in 1985. California's prison system has become the third largest in the world. And despite recent declines in urban crime rates, this remains the most violent industrial society on earth.

Though our massive investment in the prison system has not resulted in enduring public safety, politicians and the media still insist that America's unique problem of violence is the result of a lenient society "soft" on criminals, that incarcerating an ever-larger proportion of our population is a "social program that works," and that all other approaches to crimefrom prevention to rehabilitationhave failed. Criminologist Currie's concise, hard-hitting, and accessible book exposes the errors and myths behind such thinking.

"If legislators and citizens absorbed Currie's sound policy alternatives, they might stop lurching down the path he shows is departing more and more 'from both science and common sense.'"Daniel J. Rothman, The New York Times Book Review

"Currie exposes the faulty reasoning, dishonest statistics, and propaganda used to justify America's harsh, expensive, and misdirected criminal justice policies. He proposes sane strategies that would reduce violent crime without bankrupting the nation, ripping up its social fabric, or turning it over to the penal-industrial complex."Michael B. Katz, author of The Undeserving Poor

"Currie examines the problem of criminal violence with intelligence and a great deal of carefully sifted information. He argues persuasively that a policy of massive incarceration has had only a very modest impact on crime rates and predicts diminishing returns in the future. He shows how huge expenditures in prisons have meant far less money for programs that would make far deeper inroads into rates of criminal violence and would humanize American society as ever-rising rates of incarceration surely will not. His sane and optimistic analysis demands our attention."Frances Fox Piven, author of Regulating the Poor

"Currie's Crime and Punishment in America presents a dizzying array of research and statistics that demythologizes the criminal justice policies that have dominated the national debate over the past two decades. He offers compelling evidence against the charge that the justice system is extremely lenient. The assertion that increased incarceration is cost effective is convincingly disproved."Barrie Krisberg, The Los Angeles Times Sunday Book Review

"Important and thoughtful."The Chicago Tribune

"Accessible and astute, a must-read. Currie's analysis sorts through reams of statistics to debunk many of the myths and much of the hysteria that surrounds the discussion."San Jose Mercury News

"Earnest, free of jargon, lucid. A book that ought to be read by anyone concerned about crime and punishment in America."1The Washington Post Book World

"Currie first examines the magnitude of the nation's three-decade 'experiment' in rapid expansion of incarceration, and serious flaws in current arguments for further proliferation of prisons and ever more brutal treatment of prisoners. He then explores alternative approaches: social supports and opportunities aimed at the most vulnerable Americans; and 'refocusing our criminal-justice system . . . toward preventing harm and reintegrating offenders into the community.' As in the early '70s, Currie's conclusion urges, the U.S. stands at a crossroads: we must choose between a balanced approach that recognizes that criminal justice improvements must be matched by improved equity and social justice, and the failed approach justified by an increasingly open social Darwinism over the past three decadessimply locking up ever more of our fellow citizens. An eloquent dissection of a highly controversial issue."Mary Carroll, Booklist

Synopsis:

Includes bibliographical references (p. [195]-220) and index.

Synopsis:

There are five times as many Americans behind bars today as in 1970. The national incarceration rate in 1997 was twice that in 1985. California's prison system has become the third largest in the world. And despite some limited recent declines in crime rates, we remain by far the most violent industrial society on earth.

Though our massive investment in the prison system has not resulted in enduring public safety, politicians and the media continue to insist that America's unique problem of violence is the result of a lenient society "soft" on criminals; that incarcerating an ever-larger proportion of our population is a "social program that works;" and that all other approaches to crime--from prevention to rehabilitation--have failed. Nationally acclaimed criminologist Elliott Currie dissects these myths in a groundbreaking book that is already changing the terms of the current debate.

About the Author

Elliott Currie is the author of Confronting Crime, hailed as "original and incisive, the only realistic hope in years" (The New York Times), Reckoning, and the coauthor of the classic text Crisis in American Institutions. Currie has taught sociology and criminology at Yale University and the University of California at Berkeley. He has been a consultant to a wide range of organizations, including the National Advisory Council on Economic Opportunity and the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, and currently serves as vice-chair of the Eisenhower Foundation. An international authority on crime and punishment, Currie presently teaches in the Legal Studies Program at the University of California at Berkeley.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780805060164
Author:
Currie, Elliott
Publisher:
Picador USA
Location:
New York
Subject:
General
Subject:
United states
Subject:
Criminology
Subject:
Penology
Subject:
Criminal justice, administration of
Subject:
Criminal Law
Subject:
Imprisonment
Subject:
Punishment
Subject:
Crime-Criminology
Edition Number:
1st Owl Books ed.
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Series Volume:
no. 168
Publication Date:
19981031
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
240
Dimensions:
8.5 x 5.5 x 0.549 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Crime » Criminology
History and Social Science » Crime » General
History and Social Science » Crime » Prisons and Prisoners
History and Social Science » Crime » Punishment
History and Social Science » Politics » General

Crime and Punishment in America (98 - Old Edition) Used Trade Paper
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Product details 240 pages Owl Books (NY) - English 9780805060164 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Includes bibliographical references (p. [195]-220) and index.
"Synopsis" by ,
There are five times as many Americans behind bars today as in 1970. The national incarceration rate in 1997 was twice that in 1985. California's prison system has become the third largest in the world. And despite some limited recent declines in crime rates, we remain by far the most violent industrial society on earth.

Though our massive investment in the prison system has not resulted in enduring public safety, politicians and the media continue to insist that America's unique problem of violence is the result of a lenient society "soft" on criminals; that incarcerating an ever-larger proportion of our population is a "social program that works;" and that all other approaches to crime--from prevention to rehabilitation--have failed. Nationally acclaimed criminologist Elliott Currie dissects these myths in a groundbreaking book that is already changing the terms of the current debate.

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