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Street Justice
Retaliation in the Criminal Underworld

$31.99 (P)

Part of Cambridge Studies in Criminology

  • Date Published: May 2006
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521617987

$ 31.99 (P)

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About the Authors
  • Street criminals live in a dangerous world, but they cannot realistically rely on the criminal justice system to protect them from predation by fellow lawbreakers; they are on their own when it comes to dealing with crimes perpetrated against them and often use retaliation as a mechanism for deterring and responding to victimization. Although retaliation lies at the heart of much of the violence that plagues many inner-city neighborhoods across the United States, it has received scant attention from criminologists. As a result, the structure, process, and forms of retaliation in the real world setting of urban America remain poorly understood. Street Justice: Retaliation in the Criminal World, first published in 2006, explores the face of modern day retaliation from the perspective of currently active criminals who have experienced it first hand, as offenders, victims, or both.

    • Explores retaliation from the perspective of those who have experienced it first hand
    • Based on interviews and fieldwork with currently active street criminals, not prisoners recounting distant events
    • Unique in examining the structure, process, and forms of retaliation in the real world setting of urban America
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "What do criminals do when they become victims? Surprisingly, criminologists have never systematically addressed this simple but important question – until now. Drawing on a sample of active street criminals, male and female, Jacobs and Wright reveal the powerful attractions of aggressive retaliation for those to whom law is effectively unavailable. What the legal system records as a “homicide,” an “assault,” an “arson”or a “theft” is often, on the ground, an act of justice exacted by an indignant victim of wrongdoing. Yet for all its appeal, retaliation poses taxing challenges and is never automatic, resulting, rather, in a complex and varied set of street-level behaviors. Impressively researched, elegantly written, and filled with striking cases and arresting quotes, this book provides a vivid portrait of the myriad and ingenious ways that people embroiled in illegal activity get even. Scholars and students alike will benefit from the light that Jacobs and Wright shine on this long- neglected corner of criminal reality." -Mark Cooney, University of Georgia

    "Street Justice: Retaliation in the Criminal Underworld makes important contributions to the limited literature in this area. The interviews and quoted material are rich and interesting, and the conceptual frameworks advance the field." -Bruce Johnson, National Development and Research Institutes

    "Drawing on more than 50 interviews with active street criminals, Jacobs and Wright have produced a groundbreaking study of the sources, manifestations, and consequences of criminal retaliation. No researcher who studies violence, punishment, or deterrence can ignore this important work. The book offers riveting descriptions of street vengeance that suggest uncomfortable parallels with the “get tough” movement in formal criminal justice. The last thing we should want to do is make the horrific conditions of life described in these pages even more violent than they already are. A deeply fascinating and disturbing account of the criminal underworld." -Richard Rosenfeld, University of Missouri St. Louis

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2006
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521617987
    • length: 168 pages
    • dimensions: 226 x 152 x 13 mm
    • weight: 0.25kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Background and methods
    2. The retributive ethic
    3. A typology of criminal retaliation
    4. Gender and retaliation (with Christopher Mullins)
    5. Imperfect retaliation
    6. Retaliation in perspective.

  • Authors

    Bruce A. Jacobs, University of Texas, Dallas
    Bruce Jacobs is the author of two previous books, Dealing Crack and Robbing Drug Dealers, as well as the author or co-author of approximately 20 journal articles and book chapters. He is also the editor of Investigating Deviance and the recipient of competitive grant funding from the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation.

    Richard Wright, University of Missouri, St Louis
    Richard Wright is the co-author of four previous books, including Armed Robbers in Action and Burglars on the Job, which won the 1994–5 Outstanding Scholarship in Crime and Delinquency Award from the Society for the Study of Social Problems. He is also the co-editor of the Sage Handbook of Fieldwork and author or co-author of approximately 50 journal articles and book chapters. He has been the recipient of competitive grant awards from the National Institute of Justice, Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, National Consortium on Violence Research, Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences, and the Icelandic Research Council.

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