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 Policy

Crime and public policy

Throughout this book, we have argued that the dramatic expansion of the U.S. penal system is primarily a consequence of the politicization of crime-related issues. Over the past three decades, politicians have kept the issues of crime and drug abuse at the top of the national agenda and framed them issues in ways that suggest a need for a harsher and more expansive system of criminal justice. This interpretation of crime and related issues has been amplified by the mass media and the victim's rights movement, and, at times, it has resonated with large segments of the American public.

The political obsession with crime and the spread of support for getting tough has precipitated a series of policy developments:

  • Massive ...
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