Making Crime Pay: Law & Order in Contemporary American Politics
Most Americans are not aware that the US prison population has tripled over the past two decades, nor that the US has the highest rate of ... Show synopsis Most Americans are not aware that the US prison population has tripled over the past two decades, nor that the US has the highest rate of incarceration in the industrialized world. Despite these facts, politicians from across the ideological spectrum continue to campaign on "law and order" platforms and to propose "three strikes" - and even "two strikes" - sentencing laws. Why is this the case? How have crime, drugs, and delinquency come to be such salient political issues, and why have enhanced punishment and social control been defined as the most appropriate responses to these complex social problems? Making Crime Pay: Law and Order in Contemporary American Politics provides original, fascinating, and persuasive answers to these questions. Using a variety of data sources and methods, Beckett shows that politicians have played a leading role in redefining social problems as security issues and, more generally, in attempting to replace social welfare with social control as the principle of state policy. By analyzing the process by which these "solutions" to crime-related problems were (and still are) legitimized and popularized, Beckett reveals the political origins and consequences of this "get-tough" crusade. She also highlights the need for a more inclusive debate regarding crime and its solutions.