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The Prison and the Gallows
The Politics of Mass Incarceration in America


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Part of Cambridge Studies in Criminology

  • Date Published: September 2006
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521682916

£ 27.99

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About the Authors
  • The United States has built a carceral state that is unprecedented among Western countries and in US history. Nearly one in 50 people, excluding children and the elderly, is incarcerated today, a rate unsurpassed anywhere else in the world. What are some of the main political forces that explain this unprecedented reliance on mass imprisonment? Throughout American history, crime and punishment have been central features of American political development. This 2006 book examines the development of four key movements that mediated the construction of the carceral state in important ways: the victims' movement, the women's movement, the prisoners' rights movement, and opponents of the death penalty. This book argues that punitive penal policies were forged by particular social movements and interest groups within the constraints of larger institutional structures and historical developments that distinguish the United States from other Western countries.

    • Designed and written to appeal to a scholarly audience as well as a crossover audience of the educated, nonspecialist public
    • Compelling social problem that is understudied: Huge implications for public policy that are just beginning to receive more popular attention
    • Situates the US alongside other Western countries to show why US penal policy is exceptional
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    • Winner of the 2007 J. David Greenstone Award - Politics and History Section

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2006
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521682916
    • length: 468 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 26 mm
    • weight: 0.68kg
    • contains: 1 table
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. The prison and the gallows: the construction of the carceral state in America
    2. Law, order, and alternative explanations
    3. Unlocking the past: the nationalization and politicization of law and order
    4. The carceral state and the welfare state: the comparative politics of victims
    5. Not the usual suspects: feminists, women's groups, and the anti-rape movement
    6. The battered women's movement and the development of penal policy
    7. From rights to revolution: prison activism and penal policy
    8. Capital punishment, the courts, and the early origins of the carceral state, 1920s–60s
    9. The power to punish: the political development of capital punishment, 1972 to today
    10. Conclusion: whither the carceral state.

  • Author

    Marie Gottschalk, University of Pennsylvania
    Marie Gottschalk is an associate professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. She has a PhD in political science from Yale University and an MPA from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. She is the author of The Shadow Welfare State: Labor, Business, and the Politics of Health Care in the United States (Cornell University Press, 2000). She is a a former associate editor of World Policy Journal and a former associate director of the World Policy Institute in New York City.


    • Winner of the 2007 J. David Greenstone Award - Politics and History Section

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