Thinking about Crime: Sense and Sensibility in American Penal Culture

Paperback | April 19, 2006

byMichael Tonry

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In this wide-ranging analysis, Michael Tonry argues that those responsible for crafting America's criminal justice policy have lost their way in a forest of good intentions, political cynicism, and public anxieties. American crime control politics over time have created a punishment system noone would knowingly have chosen yet one that no one seems able to change. Prevailing sensibilities rather than timeless truths govern the American war on crime, resulting in policies both wasteful and harsh. U.S. crime trends closely resemble those of other nations, yet American policies, shaped bydifferent sensibilities, are much more punitive. Seamlessly blending history with an easy presentation of day-to-day realities and empirical evidence, Tonry proposes tangible, specific solutions that can serve as a platform for criminal justice reform. We know how to create an effective and humane criminal justice system. Now we must have thecourage to do so, by abandoning the current status quo, which is both costly and cruel in favor of practices that will move America closer to the mainstream of contemporary Western values.

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In this wide-ranging analysis, Michael Tonry argues that those responsible for crafting America's criminal justice policy have lost their way in a forest of good intentions, political cynicism, and public anxieties. American crime control politics over time have created a punishment system noone would knowingly have chosen yet one that...

Michael Tonry is one of the nation's most respected experts on crime and punishment. The author of the highly acclaimed Malign Neglect and (with Norval Morris) Between Prison and Probation, he is Sonosky Professor of Law and Public Policy at the University of Minnesota. He has worked as an advisor to federal and state agencies in the ...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 5.51 × 8.19 × 0.71 inPublished:April 19, 2006Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019530490X

ISBN - 13:9780195304909

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Table of Contents

1. Sense and Sensibility in American Penal Culture2. Why So Many Americans Are in Prison3. Cycles and Sensibilities4. Moral Panics and "Windows of Opportunity"5. Crime Trends and the Effects of Crime Control6. Formerly Unthinkable Policies7. Unthought Thoughts8. Better Understanding, People, and PoliciesReferencesIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Michael Tonry is one of the most provocative editors and authors in matters of crime policy. In Thinking About Crime, he challenges the spate of punitive actions that characterized the final third of the last century. He brings historical and cross-national perspectives to this importantinquiry into how America's punishment polices went out of control. Drawing on his extensive experience in sentencing and corrections, he provides a number of sober suggestions for bringing restraint back into the punishment process. This is an important book that should be widely read anddiscussed."--Al Blumstein, co-editor of The Crime Drop