A Pound of Flesh

Author: Alexes Harris
Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation
ISBN: 1610448553
Format: PDF, ePub
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Over seven million Americans are either incarcerated, on probation, or on parole, with their criminal records often following them for life and affecting access to higher education, jobs, and housing. Court-ordered monetary sanctions that compel criminal defendants to pay fines, fees, surcharges, and restitution further inhibit their ability to reenter society. In A Pound of Flesh, sociologist Alexes Harris analyzes the rise of monetary sanctions in the criminal justice system and shows how they permanently penalize and marginalize the poor. She exposes the damaging effects of a little-understood component of criminal sentencing and shows how it further perpetuates racial and economic inequality. Harris draws from extensive sentencing data, legal documents, observations of court hearings, and interviews with defendants, judges, prosecutors, and other court officials. She documents how low-income defendants are affected by monetary sanctions, which include fees for public defenders and a variety of processing charges. Until these debts are paid in full, individuals remain under judicial supervision, subject to court summons, warrants, and jail stays. As a result of interest and surcharges that accumulate on unpaid financial penalties, these monetary sanctions often become insurmountable legal debts which many offenders carry for the remainder of their lives. Harris finds that such fiscal sentences, which are imposed disproportionately on low-income minorities, help create a permanent economic underclass and deepen social stratification. A Pound of Flesh delves into the court practices of five counties in Washington State to illustrate the ways in which subjective sentencing shapes the practice of monetary sanctions. Judges and court clerks hold a considerable degree of discretion in the sentencing and monitoring of monetary sanctions and rely on individual values—such as personal responsibility, meritocracy, and paternalism—to determine how much and when offenders should pay. Harris shows that monetary sanctions are imposed at different rates across jurisdictions, with little or no state government oversight. Local officials’ reliance on their own values and beliefs can also push offenders further into debt—for example, when judges charge defendants who lack the means to pay their fines with contempt of court and penalize them with additional fines or jail time. A Pound of Flesh provides a timely examination of how monetary sanctions permanently bind poor offenders to the judicial system. Harris concludes that in letting monetary sanctions go unchecked, we have created a two-tiered legal system that imposes additional burdens on already-marginalized groups.

Race Gender and Punishment

Author: Mary Bosworth
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
ISBN: 9780813539041
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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"A superb book on the treatment of race, gender, and punishment."- Susan L. Miller, professor of sociology and criminal justice, University of Delaware "This volume stands as first-rate evidence that the sociological imagination is alive and well. The contributors move the discussion of race, gender, and social control beyond the statistical morass with their historically-situated analyses that simultaneously demonstrate the diversity of socially constructed categories."-Claire M. Renzetti, University of Dayton The disproportionate representation of black Americans in the U.S. criminal justice system is well documented. Far less well-documented are the entrenched systems and beliefs that shape punishment and other official forms of social control today. In this book, Mary Bosworth and Jeanne Flavin bring together twelve original essays by prominent scholars to examine not only the discrimination that is evident, but also the structural and cultural forces that have influenced and continue to perpetuate the current situation. Contributors point to four major factors that have impacted public sentiment and criminal justice policy: colonialism, slavery, immigration, and globalization. In doing so they reveal how practices of punishment not only need particular ideas about race to exist, but they also legitimate them. The essays unearth troubling evidence that testifies to the nation's brutally racist past, and to white Americans' continued fear of and suspicion about racial and ethnic minorities. The legacy of slavery on punishment is considered, but also subjects that have received far less attention such as how colonizers' notions of cultural superiority shaped penal practices, the criminalization of reproductive rights, the link between citizenship and punishment, and the global export of crime control strategies. Mary Bosworth is University Lecturer in criminology and fellow of St. Cross College at the University of Oxford. Jeanne Flavin is an associate professor in the sociology and anthropology department at Fordham University.

Hard Bargains

Author: Mona Lynch
Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation
ISBN: 1610448618
Format: PDF, Mobi
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The convergence of tough-on-crime politics, stiffer sentencing laws, and jurisdictional expansion in the 1970s and 1980s increased the powers of federal prosecutors in unprecedented ways. In Hard Bargains, social psychologist Mona Lynch investigates the increased power of these prosecutors in our age of mass incarceration. Lynch documents how prosecutors use punitive federal drug laws to coerce guilty pleas and obtain long prison sentences for defendants—particularly those who are African American— and exposes deep injustices in the federal courts. As a result of the War on Drugs, the number of drug cases prosecuted each year in federal courts has increased fivefold since 1980. Lynch goes behind the scenes in three federal court districts and finds that federal prosecutors have considerable discretion in adjudicating these cases. Federal drug laws are wielded differently in each district, but with such force to overwhelm defendants’ ability to assert their rights. For drug defendants with prior convictions, the stakes are even higher since prosecutors can file charges that incur lengthy prison sentences—including life in prison without parole. Through extensive field research, Lynch finds that prosecutors frequently use the threat of extremely severe sentences to compel defendants to plead guilty rather than go to trial and risk much harsher punishment. Lynch also shows that the highly discretionary ways in which federal prosecutors work with law enforcement have led to significant racial disparities in federal courts. For instance, most federal charges for crack cocaine offenses are brought against African Americans even though whites are more likely to use crack. In addition, Latinos are increasingly entering the federal system as a result of aggressive immigration crackdowns that also target illicit drugs. Hard Bargains provides an incisive and revealing look at how legal reforms over the last five decades have shifted excessive authority to federal prosecutors, resulting in the erosion of defendants’ rights and extreme sentences for those convicted. Lynch proposes a broad overhaul of the federal criminal justice system to restore the balance of power and retreat from the punitive indulgences of the War on Drugs.

Unequal City

Author: Carla Shedd
Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation
ISBN: 1610448529
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Chicago has long struggled with racial residential segregation, high rates of poverty, and deepening class stratification, and it can be a challenging place for adolescents to grow up. Unequal City examines the ways in which Chicago’s most vulnerable residents navigate their neighborhoods, life opportunities, and encounters with the law. In this pioneering analysis of the intersection of race, place, and opportunity, sociologist and criminal justice expert Carla Shedd illuminates how schools either reinforce or ameliorate the social inequalities that shape the worlds of these adolescents. Shedd draws from an array of data and in-depth interviews with Chicago youth to offer new insight into this understudied group. Focusing on four public high schools with differing student bodies, Shedd reveals how the predominantly low-income African American students at one school encounter obstacles their more affluent, white counterparts on the other side of the city do not face. Teens often travel long distances to attend school which, due to Chicago’s segregated and highly unequal neighborhoods, can involve crossing class, race, and gang lines. As Shedd explains, the disadvantaged teens who traverse these boundaries daily develop a keen “perception of injustice,” or the recognition that their economic and educational opportunities are restricted by their place in the social hierarchy. Adolescents’ worldviews are also influenced by encounters with law enforcement while traveling to school and during school hours. Shedd tracks the rise of metal detectors, surveillance cameras, and pat-downs at certain Chicago schools. Along with police procedures like stop-and-frisk, these prison-like practices lead to distrust of authority and feelings of powerlessness among the adolescents who experience mistreatment either firsthand or vicariously. Shedd finds that the racial composition of the student body profoundly shapes students’ perceptions of injustice. The more diverse a school is, the more likely its students of color will recognize whether they are subject to discriminatory treatment. By contrast, African American and Hispanic youth whose schools and neighborhoods are both highly segregated and highly policed are less likely to understand their individual and group disadvantage due to their lack of exposure to youth of differing backgrounds.

The Great Transformation

Author: Karl Polanyi
Publisher: Beacon Press
ISBN: 080705643X
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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One of the twentieth century's most thorough and discerning historians, Karl Polanyi sheds "new illumination on . . . the social implications of a particular economic system, the market economy that grew into full stature in the nineteenth century." -R. M. MacIver

Nudge

Author: Richard H. Thaler
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 1101655097
Format: PDF, ePub
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From the winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Economics, Richard H. Thaler, and Cass R. Sunstein: a revelatory look at how we make decisions—for fans of Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink and Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow New York Times bestseller Named a Best Book of the Year by The Economist and the Financial Times Every day we make choices—about what to buy or eat, about financial investments or our children’s health and education, even about the causes we champion or the planet itself. Unfortunately, we often choose poorly. Nudge is about how we make these choices and how we can make better ones. Using dozens of eye-opening examples and drawing on decades of behavioral science research, Nobel Prize winner Richard H. Thaler and Harvard Law School professor Cass R. Sunstein show that no choice is ever presented to us in a neutral way, and that we are all susceptible to biases that can lead us to make bad decisions. But by knowing how people think, we can use sensible “choice architecture” to nudge people toward the best decisions for ourselves, our families, and our society, without restricting our freedom of choice. More than 750,000 copies sold

Constituent Imagination

Author: Stevphen Shukaitis
Publisher: AK Press
ISBN: 9781904859352
Format: PDF, Kindle
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From the ivory tower to the barricades! Radical intellectuals explore the relationship between research and resistance.

Not a Crime to Be Poor

Author: Peter Edelman
Publisher: The New Press
ISBN: 162097164X
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Finalist for the American Bar Association’s 2018 Silver Gavel Book Award Named one of the “10 books to read after you've read Evicted” by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel “A powerful investigation into the ways the United States has addressed poverty. . . . Lucid and troubling.” —Matthew Desmond, author of Evicted, in The Chronicle of Higher Education A nationally known expert on poverty shows how not having money has been criminalized and shines a light on lawyers, activists, and policy makers working for a more humane approach In addition to exposing racially biased policing, the Justice Department’s Ferguson Report exposed to the world a system of fines and fees levied for minor crimes in Ferguson, Missouri, that, when they proved too expensive for Ferguson’s largely poor, African American population, resulted in jail sentences for thousands of people. As former staffer to Robert F. Kennedy and current Georgetown law professor Peter Edelman explains in Not a Crime to Be Poor, Ferguson is everywhere in America today. Through money bail systems, fees and fines, strictly enforced laws and regulations against behavior including trespassing and public urination that largely affect the homeless, and the substitution of prisons and jails for the mental hospitals that have traditionally served the impoverished, in one of the richest countries on Earth we have effectively made it a crime to be poor. Edelman, who famously resigned from the administration of Bill Clinton over welfare "reform," connects the dots between these policies and others including school discipline in poor communities, child support policies affecting the poor, public housing ordinances, addiction treatment, and the specter of public benefits fraud to paint a picture of a mean-spirited, retributive system that seals whole communities into inescapable cycles of poverty.

Barrio Libre

Author: Gilberto Rosas
Publisher: Duke University Press
ISBN: 0822352370
Format: PDF
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The city of Nogales straddles the border between Sonora, Mexico, and Arizona. On the Mexican side, a group of marginalized youth calling themselves Barrio Libre (Free 'Hood) employs violence, theft, and bribery to survive, often preying on undocumented migrants using the city's sewer system to cross the border. In this book, Gilberto Rosas draws on his in-depth ethnographic research among the Barrio Libre to understand how the gang operates, why its members have embraced criminality, and the role that neoliberalism and security policies on both sides of the border have played in the youth's descent into Barrio Libre. Rosas argues that although these youth participate in the victimization of others, they should not be demonized. They are complexly and adversely situated. Many are migrants driven to Nogales by the effects of NAFTA. Shadowing the youths through the spaces they inhabit and control, he shows how the militarization of the border actually destabilized the region and led Barrio Libre to turn to even more violent activities like drug trafficking. By focusing this population and their thickening delinquency, Rosas asserts the importance of capitalism and criminality in shaping of perceptions and realities of race, sovereignty, and resistance along the U.S./Mexico border.

Wikinomics

Author: Don Tapscott
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9781440639487
Format: PDF, ePub
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The acclaimed bestseller that's teaching the world about the power of mass collaboration. Translated into more than twenty languages and named one of the best business books of the year by reviewers around the world, Wikinomics has become essential reading for business people everywhere. It explains how mass collaboration is happening not just at Web sites like Wikipedia and YouTube, but at traditional companies that have embraced technology to breathe new life into their enterprises. This national bestseller reveals the nuances that drive wikinomics, and share fascinating stories of how masses of people (both paid and volunteer) are now creating TV news stories, sequencing the human gnome, remixing their favorite music, designing software, finding cures for diseases, editing school texts, inventing new cosmetics, and even building motorcycles.