American Exceptionalism in Crime and Punishment (Hardback)Kevin R. Reitz (editor)
Hardback 584 Pages / Published: 01/02/2018
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The idea of American exceptionalism has made frequent appearances in discussions of criminal justice policies-as it has in many other areas-to help portray or explain problems that are especially acute in the U.S., including mass incarceration, retention of the death penalty, racial and ethnic disparities, and the War on Drugs. While scholars do not universally agree that it is an apt or useful framework, there is no question that the U.S. is an outlier, when compared with other industrialized democracies, in its punitive and exclusionary criminal justice policies. This volume of essays deepens the debate of American exceptionalism in crime and punishment through comparative political, economic, and historical analyses, with an orientation toward forward-looking prescriptions for American law, policy, and institutions of government. The chapters expand the literature to neglected areas such as community supervision, parole release, and collateral consequences of conviction; explore claims of causation, in particular the view that the U.S. history of slavery and racial inequality has been a primary driver of crime policy; examine arguments that the framework of multiple governments and localized crime control, populist style of democracy, and laissez-faire economy are implicated in problems of both crime and punishment; and assess theories that cultural values are the most salient predictors of penal severity and violent crime. With an outstanding list of contributors edited by a leading authority on punishment, this volume demonstrates that the largest problems of crime and justice cannot be brought into focus from the perspective of single jurisdiction, and that comparative inquiries are necessary for an understanding of the current predicament in the US.
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Number of pages: 584
Weight: 894 g
Dimensions: 244 x 164 x 45 mm
"Penal policy is complex. By adding fines, jails, probation, and parole into the sanctioning mix, some of the contributors in this volume show that the United States is an even greater outlier in its harshness of penal sanctioning than is generally recognized. Other contributors, pursuing fine-grained analyses of variations among states and counties, reveal that many local and state jurisdictions in the United States compare favorably with the most progressive Western European countries. This is an important book that should be widely read and discussed."
--Malcolm M. Feeley, Claire Sanders Clements Professor of Jurisprudence and Social Policy, University of California, Berkeley School of Law
"Serious scholars of penal policy must read Kevin Reitz's American Exceptionalism in Crime and Punishment. By now, we all know that America overpunishes. But many fundamental questions have remained unanswered -'What explains these punitive policies? Are we only an outlier in incarceration, or are probation, parole, financial penalties, crime rates, collateral sanctions, and the death penalty also implicated?' Now we have answers. Reitz, the nation's premier sentencing scholar, has assembled eleven original essays from the most distinguished scholars, and each essay is serious scholarship at its best-deeply empirical, but understandable for the lay reader. This book will deepen our understanding of America's mass incarceration disaster, and could serve as a rallying cry for authentic criminal justice reform."
--Joan Petersilia, Aldebert H. Sweet Professor of Law, Stanford Law School
"American Exceptionalism in Crime and Punishment breaks important new ground in the field of crime and punishment. A stellar group of authors explore aspects of American exceptionalism that have so far been overlooked by scholars. The volume broadens the scope of American exceptionalism studies to include sanctions beyond incarceration and the death penalty; as such it will inform and guide the discourse and scholarship for years to come."
--Julian V. Roberts, Professor of Criminology, University of Oxford
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