Darnell F. Hawkins, Samuel L. Myers, and Randolph N. Stone (Editors). Crime Control and Social Justice: the Delicate Balance.
With the burgeoning explosion of incarcerated individuals throughout the country, and the proliferation of prisons in which to house them, this volume explores the nation's current policies on crime control in conjunction with issues of social justice. While the literature is replete with research on prisons, prison systems and incarcerated individuals, this collection is unique in blending the research on the criminal justice system with parallel policies regarding criminal and social justice. Hawkins, Myers and Stone provide a seminal work that challenges the reader to think beyond the status quo.
The text is divided into three sections. The first section examines the interplay between families and high risk youth with the current political, economic and criminal justice policies in the United States. The five essays in this section provide an in-depth analysis of the economic and social ramifications of the enormous increase in both the adult and juvenile prison populations as a result of current criminal justice policies. It is an insightful and absorbing compilation of studies that emphasizes the social costs we are incurring for harsh sentencing policies particularly related to non-violent offenders and youth.
The second section of the book addresses the issues of gangs, drug law enforcement, racial discrimination in arrests, oppression of minorities and public attitudes. Examples of racial profiling arrests from gangs and drug raids to traffic stops and customs searches are highlighted throughout this section. Ample empirical evidence is provided to support the conclusion that despite the current rhetoric about anti-racial profiling legislation, minorities have a much higher chance of being arrested, incarcerated and sentenced to longer prison terms for non-violent offenses than white persons. In addition, the influence of public attitudes on crime control policies is explored.
The final section of studies takes a hard look at the disparities between crime control policies and racism, oppression and social injustice. The moral philosophy inherent in criminal justice policy is addressed. The tensions that exist between the rehabilitative viewpoint and the punitive perspective of incarceration are discussed as they relate to evolving public and political attitudes. Two studies on affirmative action and its relationship to criminal law are examined with proposals for race-consciousness awareness within the criminal justice system. The final chapter provides a summary and conclusion to the volume. In addition, Darnell Hawkins, the author, challenges readers to continue to deliberate about the social inequalities of minority populations in our neighborhoods, communities and ultimately the criminal justice system.
This scholarly volume is a fascinating analysis of current crime control and social justice issues by leading experts in the field. The editors have woven these studies into a very readable and interesting whole that captures the reader's attention. Unlike many edited texts, this book flows smoothly in a logical and sequential fashion. The diversity of authors, from economists and sociologists to lawyers and criminologists, provide readers with the breadth and depth of these important social issues. These experts are leaders in their respective fields of study and their thorough knowledge of the subject matter is apparent throughout the collection of compositions.
Perhaps the book's only limitation is the redundant statistics on incarceration provided at the beginning of the majority of chapters. While it is not unusual to document these statistics in a scholarly work, it seems unnecessary to repeat the same information throughout the text. Despite this minor issue, each essay is full of rich material that expands the reader's knowledge of current criminal and social justice issues.
Overall, this reviewer found this volume to be a valuable resource and learning tool. Professionals and students in a wide variety of fields including economics, sociology, political science, law, criminal justice and social work among others would benefit from reading this book. It is an impressive and timely exposition of important social issues that should be openly debated and researched. The book is an enlightening and engaging anthology of studies that will surely lead to lively and intense discussions.
Elizabeth C. Pomeroy
University of Texas at Austin
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|Author:||Pomeroy, Elizabeth C.|
|Publication:||Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare|
|Article Type:||Book Review|
|Date:||Dec 1, 2004|
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