Making Crime Pay: Law and Order in Contemporary American Politics

Paperback | November 15, 1999

byKatherine Beckett

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Most Americans are not aware that the US prison population has tripled over the past two decades, nor that the US has the highest rate of incarceration in the industrialized world. Despite these facts, politicians from across the ideological spectrum continue to campaign on "law and order"platforms and to propose "three strikes"--and even "two strikes"--sentencing laws. Why is this the case? How have crime, drugs, and delinquency come to be such salient political issues, and why have enhanced punishment and social control been defined as the most appropriate responses to thesecomplex social problems? Making Crime Pay: Law and Order in Contemporary American Politics provides original, fascinating, and persuasive answers to these questions. According to conventional wisdom, the worsening of the crime and drug problems has led the public to become more punitive, and "tough" anti-crime policies are politicians' collective response to this popular sentiment. Katherine Beckett challenges this interpretation, arguing instead that theorigins of the punitive shift in crime control policy lie in the political rather than the penal realm--particularly in the tumultuous period of the 1960s.

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Most Americans are not aware that the US prison population has tripled over the past two decades, nor that the US has the highest rate of incarceration in the industrialized world. Despite these facts, politicians from across the ideological spectrum continue to campaign on "law and order"platforms and to propose "three strikes"--and e...

Katherine Beckett is Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice and Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Indiana University, Bloomington.

other books by Katherine Beckett

Format:PaperbackDimensions:168 pages, 5.98 × 9.21 × 0.51 inPublished:November 15, 1999Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195136268

ISBN - 13:9780195136265

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Table of Contents

1. Law and Order in Contemporary American Politics2. Setting the Public Agenda3. Creating the Crime Issue4. From Crime to Drugs--and Back Again5. Crime and Drugs in the News6. Crime and Punishment in American Political Culture7. Institutionalizing Law and Order8. Reconceptualizing the Crime Problem

Editorial Reviews

"Beckett immerses herself in the political, social, historical, and discursive context of crime contol in America. The result is an excellent example of how interdisciplinary research can enhance our understanding of complex social phenomena."--Journal of Criminal Justice