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The Toughest Beat: Politics, Punishment, and the Prison Officers Union in California - Studies in Crime and Public Policy (Hardback)
  • The Toughest Beat: Politics, Punishment, and the Prison Officers Union in California - Studies in Crime and Public Policy (Hardback)
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The Toughest Beat: Politics, Punishment, and the Prison Officers Union in California - Studies in Crime and Public Policy (Hardback)

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£29.99
Hardback 312 Pages / Published: 24/02/2011
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In America today, one in every hundred adults is behind bars. As our prison population has exploded, "law and order" interest groups have also grown-in numbers and political clout. Committed to punitive justice, these organizations perpetuate America's imprisonment binge. The Toughest Beat forcefully demonstrates how this cyclical process has unfolded in California. In crisp, vivid prose, Joshua Page argues that the Golden State's prison boom fueled the rise of one of the most politically potent and feared interest groups in the nation: the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA). As it made great strides for its members, the prison officers' union also fundamentally altered the composition and orientation of the penal field. It promoted extreme punishment and moralistic conceptions of prisoners, helped institute ultra-tough penal policies such as Three Strikes and You're Out, obstructed efforts to privatize prisons, and empowered sympathetic political figures and groups, including crime victims' organizations that it helped create. To understand the nature, purpose, and scope of California's penal system, Page explains, we cannot neglect the story of this group so often known simply as "the powerful prison guards union." Page draws on years of intensive research, using the lessons of the CCPOA to illuminate concrete processes that determine criminal justice outcomes at the state level. He demonstrates how actors produce and reinforce the penal status quo and considers whether, by making these mechanisms clear, we might open the door to real and lasting change in the penal field and beyond. The Toughest Beat is essential reading for anyone concerned with contemporary crime and punishment, interest group politics, and public sector labor unions.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780195384055
Number of pages: 312
Weight: 546 g
Dimensions: 236 x 162 x 26 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

"The Toughest Beat offers a comprehensive look at how the CCPOA's political action helped produce and sustain the largest prison system in the United States. This book leaves no doubt the CCPOA is a powerful force. Page compellingly demonstrates how the CCPOA exerted its influence and expended its financial assets to prevent California's government from achieving meaningful criminal justice reform. This is a must read for all policy makers, legislators and criminal justice professionals."--Jeanne Woodford, former Director of the California Department of Corrections



"By revealing the organizational practices and politics that have reshaped the penal field in California and elsewhere, The Toughest Beat takes our comprehension of mass incarceration to a new level of precision and analytic power. Page has achieved a breakthrough in the sociology of punishment."--Jonathan Simon, Adrian A. Kragen Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley School of Law


"What's the matter with California? The Toughest Beat is a compelling, at times riveting, account of how the prison guards' union in California consolidated its power and contributed to the state's penal crisis. In this well-researched and persuasive account, Page demonstrates how the Golden State's penal crisis is the hard edge of larger political and economic problems that will not be easy to resolve."--Marie Gottschalk, author of The Prison and the Gallows: The Politics of Mass Incarceration in America


"In The Toughest Beat, Joshua Page has given us the first comprehensive and well-researched look at the powerful role that California's state prison guards union--the CCPOA--played in the buildup of the California prison system. It is a brilliant and readable critique and will certainly make an enduring contribution to our understanding of contemporary crime and punishment policy. Anyone interested in the relationship between politics, special interests, and the build-up of America's prisons must start their analysis with this book."--Joan Petersilia, Adelbert H. Sweet Professor of Law, Stanford Law School


"The Toughest Beat is a comprehensive, compelling account of how the CCPOA exerted its influence and expended its financial assets to help produce and sustain the largest prison system in the United States. This is a must read for all policymakers, legislators, and criminal justice professionals."--Jeanne Woodford, former Director of the California Department of Corrections


"Page is even-handed in his analysis...makes for fascinaing reading." -



"Page is even-handed in his analysis...The Toughest Beat makes for fascinating reading." --Sacramento News and Review


"By linking the penal field to politics, The Toughest Beat joins an emerging literature on the politics of punishing...Page advances this literature by developing a mechanism to trace the interaction of effects of key relationships on penal outcomes. It will certainly influence the direction of future research as scholars try to apply this concept to other times and spaces." --The American Journal of Sociology


"It is refreshing to read an account of prison life and policy that so effectively combines political analysis with sociological research. The Toughest Beat is original, influential and makes a significant contribution to penology, political economy/sociology, criminology and social science more broadly." --Contemporary Sociology




"Page is even-handed in his analysis...The Toughest Beat makes for fascinating reading." --Sacramento News and Review


"By linking the penal field to politics, The Toughest Beat joins an emerging literature on the politics of punishing...Page advances this literature by developing a mechanism to trace the interaction of effects of key relationships on penal outcomes. It will certainly influence the direction of future research as scholars try to apply this concept to other times and spaces." --The American Journal of Sociology


"It is refreshing to read an account of prison life and policy that so effectively combines political analysis with sociological research. The Toughest Beat is original, influential and makes a significant contribution to penology, political economy/sociology, criminology and social science more broadly." --Contemporary Sociology


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