Race, Incarceration, and American Values

Race, Incarceration, and American Values
Title Race, Incarceration, and American Values PDF eBook
Author Glenn C. Loury
Publisher MIT Press
Pages 96
Release 2008-08-22
Genre Political Science
ISBN 0262260948

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Why stigmatizing and confining a large segment of our population should be unacceptable to all Americans. The United States, home to five percent of the world's population, now houses twenty-five percent of the world's prison inmates. Our incarceration rate—at 714 per 100,000 residents and rising—is almost forty percent greater than our nearest competitors (the Bahamas, Belarus, and Russia). More pointedly, it is 6.2 times the Canadian rate and 12.3 times the rate in Japan. Economist Glenn Loury argues that this extraordinary mass incarceration is not a response to rising crime rates or a proud success of social policy. Instead, it is the product of a generation-old collective decision to become a more punitive society. He connects this policy to our history of racial oppression, showing that the punitive turn in American politics and culture emerged in the post-civil rights years and has today become the main vehicle for the reproduction of racial hierarchies. Whatever the explanation, Loury argues, the uncontroversial fact is that changes in our criminal justice system since the 1970s have created a nether class of Americans—vastly disproportionately black and brown—with severely restricted rights and life chances. Moreover, conservatives and liberals agree that the growth in our prison population has long passed the point of diminishing returns. Stigmatizing and confining of a large segment of our population should be unacceptable to Americans. Loury's call to action makes all of us now responsible for ensuring that the policy changes.




Black Silent Majority

Black Silent Majority
Title Black Silent Majority PDF eBook
Author Michael Javen Fortner
Publisher Harvard University Press
Pages 365
Release 2015-09-28
Genre History
ISBN 0674743997

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Often seen as a political sop to the racial fears of white voters, aggressive policing and draconian sentencing for illegal drug possession and related crimes have led to the imprisonment of millions of African Americans—far in excess of their representation in the population as a whole. Michael Javen Fortner shows in this eye-opening account that these punitive policies also enjoyed the support of many working-class and middle-class blacks, who were angry about decline and disorder in their communities. Black Silent Majority uncovers the role African Americans played in creating today’s system of mass incarceration. Current anti-drug policies are based on a set of controversial laws first adopted in New York in the early 1970s and championed by the state’s Republican governor, Nelson Rockefeller. Fortner traces how many blacks in New York came to believe that the rehabilitation-focused liberal policies of the 1960s had failed. Faced with economic malaise and rising rates of addiction and crime, they blamed addicts and pushers. By 1973, the outcry from grassroots activists and civic leaders in Harlem calling for drastic measures presented Rockefeller with a welcome opportunity to crack down on crime and boost his political career. New York became the first state to mandate long prison sentences for selling or possessing narcotics. Black Silent Majority lays bare the tangled roots of a pernicious system. America’s drug policies, while in part a manifestation of the conservative movement, are also a product of black America’s confrontation with crime and chaos in its own neighborhoods.




The Sum of Us

The Sum of Us
Title The Sum of Us PDF eBook
Author Heather McGhee
Publisher One World
Pages 450
Release 2021-02-16
Genre Social Science
ISBN 0525509577

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • LONGLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD • One of today’s most insightful and influential thinkers offers a powerful exploration of inequality and the lesson that generations of Americans have failed to learn: Racism has a cost for everyone—not just for people of color. WINNER OF THE PORCHLIGHT BUSINESS BOOK AWARD • ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: Time, The Washington Post, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Ms. magazine, BookRiot, Library Journal “This is the book I’ve been waiting for.”—Ibram X. Kendi, #1 New York Times bestselling author of How to Be an Antiracist Look for the author’s new podcast, The Sum of Us, based on this book! Heather McGhee’s specialty is the American economy—and the mystery of why it so often fails the American public. From the financial crisis of 2008 to rising student debt to collapsing public infrastructure, she found a root problem: racism in our politics and policymaking. But not just in the most obvious indignities for people of color. Racism has costs for white people, too. It is the common denominator of our most vexing public problems, the core dysfunction of our democracy and constitutive of the spiritual and moral crises that grip us all. But how did this happen? And is there a way out? McGhee embarks on a deeply personal journey across the country from Maine to Mississippi to California, tallying what we lose when we buy into the zero-sum paradigm—the idea that progress for some of us must come at the expense of others. Along the way, she meets white people who confide in her about losing their homes, their dreams, and their shot at better jobs to the toxic mix of American racism and greed. This is the story of how public goods in this country—from parks and pools to functioning schools—have become private luxuries; of how unions collapsed, wages stagnated, and inequality increased; and of how this country, unique among the world’s advanced economies, has thwarted universal healthcare. But in unlikely places of worship and work, McGhee finds proof of what she calls the Solidarity Dividend: the benefits we gain when people come together across race to accomplish what we simply can’t do on our own. The Sum of Us is not only a brilliant analysis of how we arrived here but also a heartfelt message, delivered with startling empathy, from a black woman to a multiracial America. It leaves us with a new vision for a future in which we finally realize that life can be more than a zero-sum game. LONGLISTED FOR THE ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL




In Defence of Politics

In Defence of Politics
Title In Defence of Politics PDF eBook
Author Bernard R. Crick
Publisher Chicago : University of Chicago Press
Pages 204
Release 1972
Genre Political Science
ISBN 9780226120645

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Texas Tough

Texas Tough
Title Texas Tough PDF eBook
Author Robert Perkinson
Publisher Metropolitan Books
Pages 496
Release 2010-10-26
Genre Social Science
ISBN 9781429952774

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A vivid history of America's biggest, baddest prison system and how it came to lead the nation's punitive revolution In the prison business, all roads lead to Texas. The most locked-down state in the nation has led the way in criminal justice severity, from assembly-line executions to isolation supermaxes, from prison privatization to sentencing juveniles as adults. Texas Tough, a sweeping history of American imprisonment from the days of slavery to the present, shows how a plantation-based penal system once dismissed as barbaric became the national template. Drawing on convict accounts, official records, and interviews with prisoners, guards, and lawmakers, historian Robert Perkinson reveals the Southern roots of our present-day prison colossus. While conventional histories emphasize the North's rehabilitative approach, he shows how the retributive and profit-driven regime of the South ultimately triumphed. Most provocatively, he argues that just as convict leasing and segregation emerged in response to Reconstruction, so today's mass incarceration, with its vast racial disparities, must be seen as a backlash against civil rights. Illuminating for the first time the origins of America's prison juggernaut, Texas Tough points toward a more just and humane future.




The Life and the Adventures of a Haunted Convict

The Life and the Adventures of a Haunted Convict
Title The Life and the Adventures of a Haunted Convict PDF eBook
Author Austin Reed
Publisher Modern Library
Pages 354
Release 2017-01-24
Genre Biography & Autobiography
ISBN 0812986911

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The earliest known prison memoir by an African American writer—recently discovered and authenticated by a team of Yale scholars—sheds light on the longstanding connection between race and incarceration in America. “[A] harrowing [portrait] of life behind bars . . . part confession, part jeremiad, part lamentation, part picaresque novel (reminiscent, at times, of Dickens and Defoe).”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE In 2009, scholars at Yale University came across a startling manuscript: the memoir of Austin Reed, a free black man born in the 1820s who spent most of his early life ricocheting between forced labor in prison and forced labor as an indentured servant. Lost for more than one hundred and fifty years, the handwritten document is the first known prison memoir written by an African American. Corroborated by prison records and other documentary sources, Reed’s text gives a gripping first-person account of an antebellum Northern life lived outside slavery that nonetheless bore, in its day-to-day details, unsettling resemblances to that very institution. Now, for the first time, we can hear Austin Reed’s story as he meant to tell it. He was born to a middle-class black family in the boomtown of Rochester, New York, but when his father died, his mother struggled to make ends meet. Still a child, Reed was placed as an indentured servant to a nearby family of white farmers near Rochester. He was caught attempting to set fire to a building and sentenced to ten years at Manhattan’s brutal House of Refuge, an early juvenile reformatory that would soon become known for beatings and forced labor. Seven years later, Reed found himself at New York’s infamous Auburn State Prison. It was there that he finished writing this memoir, which explores America’s first reformatory and first industrial prison from an inmate’s point of view, recalling the great cruelties and kindnesses he experienced in those places and excavating patterns of racial segregation, exploitation, and bondage that extended beyond the boundaries of the slaveholding South, into free New York. Accompanied by fascinating historical documents (including a series of poignant letters written by Reed near the end of his life), The Life and the Adventures of a Haunted Convict is a work of uncommon beauty that tells a story of nineteenth-century racism, violence, labor, and captivity in a proud, defiant voice. Reed’s memoir illuminates his own life and times—as well as ours today. Praise for The Life and the Adventures of a Haunted Convict “One of the most fascinating and important memoirs ever produced in the United States.”—Annette Gordon-Reed, The Washington Post “Remarkable . . . triumphantly defiant . . . The book’s greatest value lies in the gap it fills.”—O: The Oprah Magazine “Reed displays virtuosic gifts for narrative that, a century and a half later, earn and hold the reader’s ear.”—Thomas Chatterton Williams, San Francisco Chronicle “[The book’s] urgency and relevance remain undiminished. . . . This exemplary edition recovers history without permanently trapping it in one interpretation.”—The Guardian “A sensational, novelistic telling of an eventful life.”—The Paris Review “Vivid and painful.”—NPR “Lyrical and graceful in one sentence, burning with fury and hellfire in the next.”—Columbus Free Press




Privilege and Punishment

Privilege and Punishment
Title Privilege and Punishment PDF eBook
Author Matthew Clair
Publisher Princeton University Press
Pages 320
Release 2022-06-21
Genre Social Science
ISBN 069123387X

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How the attorney-client relationship favors the privileged in criminal court—and denies justice to the poor and to working-class people of color The number of Americans arrested, brought to court, and incarcerated has skyrocketed in recent decades. Criminal defendants come from all races and economic walks of life, but they experience punishment in vastly different ways. Privilege and Punishment examines how racial and class inequalities are embedded in the attorney-client relationship, providing a devastating portrait of inequality and injustice within and beyond the criminal courts. Matthew Clair conducted extensive fieldwork in the Boston court system, attending criminal hearings and interviewing defendants, lawyers, judges, police officers, and probation officers. In this eye-opening book, he uncovers how privilege and inequality play out in criminal court interactions. When disadvantaged defendants try to learn their legal rights and advocate for themselves, lawyers and judges often silence, coerce, and punish them. Privileged defendants, who are more likely to trust their defense attorneys, delegate authority to their lawyers, defer to judges, and are rewarded for their compliance. Clair shows how attempts to exercise legal rights often backfire on the poor and on working-class people of color, and how effective legal representation alone is no guarantee of justice. Superbly written and powerfully argued, Privilege and Punishment draws needed attention to the injustices that are perpetuated by the attorney-client relationship in today’s criminal courts, and describes the reforms needed to correct them.