The U.S. crime rate has dropped steadily for more than a decade, yet the rate of incarceration continues to skyrocket. Today, more than 2 million Americans are locked in prisons and jails with devastating consequences for poor families and communities, overcrowded institutions and overburdened taxpayers. How did the U.S. become the world’s leader in incarceration? Why have the numbers of women, juveniles, and people of color increased especially rapidly among the imprisoned? The Politics of Injustice: Crime and Punishment in America, Second Edition is the first book to make widely accessible the new research on crime as a political and cultural issue. Katherine Beckett and Theodore Sasson provide readers with a robust analysis of the roles of crime, politics, media imagery and citizen activism in the making of criminal justice policy in the age of mass incarceration.is the first book to make widely accessible the new research on crime as a political and cultural issue. Katherine Beckett and Theodore Sasson provide readers with a robust analysis of the roles of crime, politics, media imagery and citizen activism in the making of criminal justice policy in the age of mass incarceration.

Crime and Public Opinion

Crime and public opinion

One version of the conventional wisdom on the expansion of the penal system goes like this: Whatever crime rates may be doing, the American public has become more fearful of crime and increasingly punitive in its policy preferences. Although these sentiments are not necessarily a response to trends in criminal activity, they are widespread and are the driving force behind the war on crime and drugs. This view is conveyed in the following excerpt from a 1994 Time magazine article titled “Lock 'Em Up!”:

With outraged Americans saying that crime is their No. 1 concern, politicians are again talking tough. But are they making sense?

“WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT these kids (monsters) who kill with guns??? Line ...

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