The First Civil Right: How Liberals Built Prison America by Naomi MurakawaThe First Civil Right: How Liberals Built Prison America by Naomi Murakawa

The First Civil Right: How Liberals Built Prison America

byNaomi Murakawa

Paperback | August 25, 2014

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The explosive rise in the U.S. incarceration rate in the second half of the twentieth century, and the racial transformation of the prison population from mostly white at mid-century to sixty-five percent black and Latino in the present day, is a trend that cannot easily be ignored. Manybelieve that this shift began with the "tough on crime" policies advocated by Republicans and southern Democrats beginning in the late 1960s, which sought longer prison sentences, more frequent use of the death penalty, and the explicit or implicit targeting of politically marginalized people. InThe First Civil Right, Naomi Murakawa inverts the conventional wisdom by arguing that the expansion of the federal carceral state - a system that disproportionately imprisons blacks and Latinos - was, in fact, rooted in the civil-rights liberalism of the 1940s and early 1960s, not in the periodafter.Murakawa traces the development of the modern American prison system through several presidencies, both Republican and Democrat. Responding to calls to end the lawlessness and violence against blacks at the state and local levels, the Truman administration expanded the scope of what was previously aweak federal system. Later administrations from Johnson to Clinton expanded the federal presence even more. Ironically, these steps laid the groundwork for the creation of the vast penal archipelago that now exists in the United States. What began as a liberal initiative to curb the mob violence andpolice brutality that had deprived racial minorities of their "first civil right" - physical safety - eventually evolved into the federal correctional system that now deprives them, in unjustly large numbers, of another important right: freedom. The First Civil Right is a groundbreaking analysis ofroot of the conflicts that lie at the intersection of race and the legal system in America.

About The Author

Naomi Murakawa is Associate Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University.

Details & Specs

Title:The First Civil Right: How Liberals Built Prison AmericaFormat:PaperbackDimensions:280 pages, 9.09 × 6.1 × 0.79 inPublished:August 25, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199892806

ISBN - 13:9780199892808

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Customer Reviews of The First Civil Right: How Liberals Built Prison America

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from incredible in depth and thought provoking study on the political history of the carceral state.
Date published: 2016-12-10

Extra Content

Table of Contents

List of TablesAcknowledgementsAbbreviations1. The First Civil Right2. Beyond Racial Conservatism: The Allure of Liberal State-building and Racial Pity3. The Liberal's Law-and-Order Crisis: Lawless White Violence and Cyclical Black Criminality4. Modernizing the Machine: Policing the Great Society and Rehabilitating the Sentencing Process5. The Triumph of Punitive Proceduralism: New Democrats, Mandatory Minimums, and Death Penalty Bidding Wars6. The Last Civil RightAppendix TablesAbbreviations in NotesNotesIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Tackling one of the most important topics of our time, this sharply-argued, richly-researched, and tough-minded book exposes the roots of our carceral state. In highlighting ideology, liberal as well as conservative, as well as putatively neutral ideas and procedures, The First Civil Rightcompellingly marries policy analysis and studies of race to a penetrating account of officially-sanctioned racial cruelty."--Ira Katznelson, Ruggles Professor of Political Science and History, Columbia University