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.

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In the previous chapter, we described and critiqued many of the anti-crime policies adopted in the rush to get tough on crime. These policies are predicated on the view that crime and drug use are primarily the consequence of immoral individuals and a permissive criminal justice apparatus that fails to punish their immoral acts. As we have seen, this way of framing crime was initially promoted by conservative opponents of civil rights and the welfare state. For these political actors, the emotionally and racially charged crime issue provided a means of legitimating individualistic explanations of a range of social problems, explanations that implied the need for enhanced social control rather than social welfare. Although these political actors were not initially responding to clear expressions ...

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