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Today's armored-up policemen are a far cry from the constables of early America. The unrest of the 1960s brought about the invention of the SWAT unit--which in turn led to the debut of military tactics in the ranks of police officers. Nixon's War on Drugs, Reagan's War on Poverty, Clinton's COPS program, the post-9/11 security state under Bush and Obama: by degrees, each of these innovations expanded and empowered police forces, always at the expense of civil liberties. And these are just four among a slew of reckless programs. In Rise of the Warrior Cop, Balko shows how politicians' ill-considered policies and relentless declarations of war against vague enemies like crime, drugs, and terror have blurred the distinction between cop and soldier. His fascinating, frightening narrative shows how over a generation, a creeping battlefield mentality has isolated and alienated American police officers and put them on a collision course with the values of a free society.
In a bold and innovative argument, a rising legal star shows readers how the mass incarceration of a disproportionate number of black men amounts to a devastating system of racial control. This is a terrifying reality that exists in the UK as much as in the US. Despite the triumphant dismantling of the Jim Crow laws, the system that once forced African-Americans into a segregated second-class citizenship still haunts and the criminal justice system still unfairly targets black men and deprives an entire segment of the population of their basic rights.
In the past fifty years, street crime rates in America have increased eightfold. These increases were historically patterned, were often very rapid, and had a disproportionate impact on African Americans. Much of the crime explosion took place in a space of just ten years beginning in the early 1960s. Common explanations based on biological impulses, psychological drives, or slow-moving social indicators cannot explain the speed or timing of these changes or their disproportionate impact on racial minorities. Using unique data that span half a century, Gary LaFree argues that social institutions are the key to understanding the U.S. crime wave. Crime increased along with growing political distrust, economic stress, and family disintegration. These changes were especially pronounced for racial minorities. American society responded by investing more in criminal justice, education, and welfare institutions. Stabilization of traditional social institutions and the effects of new institutional spending account for the modest crime declines of the 1990s.
For nearly forty years the United States has been gripped by policies that have placed more than 2.5 million Americans in jails and prisons designed to hold a fraction of that number of inmates. Our prisons are not only vast and overcrowded, they are degrading--relying on racist gangs, lockdowns, and Supermax-style segregation units to maintain a tenuous order.
The award-winning journalist who covered the trial discusses the laws, culture and conditions that exist in modern America that allowed George Zimmerman to be fully acquitted after killing an unarmed, black teenager in his gated Florida community.
On April 20th, 1989, two passersby discovered the body of the "Central Park jogger" crumpled in a ravine. She'd been raped and severely beaten. Within days five black and Latino teenagers were apprehended, all five confessing to the crime. The staggering torrent of media coverage that ensued, coupled with fierce public outcry, exposed the deep-seated race and class divisions in New York City at the time. The minors were tried and convicted as adults despite no evidence linking them to the victim. Over a decade later, when DNA tests connected serial rapist Matias Reyes to the crime, the government, law enforcement, social institutions and media of New York were exposed as having undermined the individuals they were designed to protect. Here, Sarah Burns recounts this historic case for the first time since the young men's convictions were overturned, telling, at last, the full story of one of New York's most legendary crimes.
What happens when public prosecutors, the most powerful officials in the criminal justice system, seek convictions instead of justice? Why are cases involving well-to-do victims often prosecuted more vigorously than those involving poor victims? Why do wealthy defendants frequently enjoy more lenient plea bargains than the disadvantaged? In this eye-opening work, Angela J. Davis shines a much-needed light on the power of American prosecutors, revealing how the day-to-day practice of even the most well-intentioned prosecutors can result in unequal treatment of defendants and victims. Ranging from mandatory minimum sentencing laws that enhance prosecutorial control over the outcome of cases, to the increasing politicization of the office, Davis uses powerful stories of individuals caught in the system to demonstrate how the perfectly legal exercise of prosecutorial discretion can result in gross inequities in criminal justice. For the paperback edition, Davis provides a new Afterword which covers such recent incidents of prosecutorial abuse as the Jena Six case, the Duke lacrosse case, the Department of Justice firings, and more.
Williams, the cofounder of the Crips gang and a nominee for both the Nobel Peace Prize and the Nobel Prize in Literature, became an anti-gang crusader before he was executed in December 2005. In this work he debunked urban myths about prison life and challenged young people to choose the right path. Selected for the Young Adult Library Services Association's Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults list
In their own voices--raw and uncensored--inmates sentenced to death as teenagers talk about their lives in prison, and share their thoughts and feelings about how they ended up there. Susan Kuklin also gets inside the system, exploring capital punishment itself and the intricacies and inequities of criminal justice in the United States.
A comprehensive account of how and why the prison industry has become a predatory entity in the lives of African-American men, and how mass targeting, criminalization, and incarceration of Black male youth has gone toward creating the largest prison system in the world.