Arresting Citizenship: The Democratic Consequences of American Crime Control

Overview

The numbers are staggering: One-third of America’s adult population has passed through the criminal justice system and now has a criminal record. Many more were never convicted, but are nonetheless subject to surveillance by the state. Never before has the American government maintained so vast a network of institutions dedicated solely to the control and confinement of its citizens.
 
A provocative assessment of the contemporary carceral ...

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Arresting Citizenship: The Democratic Consequences of American Crime Control

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Overview

The numbers are staggering: One-third of America’s adult population has passed through the criminal justice system and now has a criminal record. Many more were never convicted, but are nonetheless subject to surveillance by the state. Never before has the American government maintained so vast a network of institutions dedicated solely to the control and confinement of its citizens.
 
A provocative assessment of the contemporary carceral state for American democracy, Arresting Citizenship argues that the broad reach of the criminal justice system has fundamentally recast the relation between citizen and state, resulting in a sizable—and growing—group of second-class citizens. From police stops to court cases and incarceration, at each stage of the criminal justice system individuals belonging to this disempowered group come to experience a state-within-a-state that reflects few of the country’s core democratic values. Through scores of interviews, along with analyses of survey data, Amy E. Lerman and Vesla M. Weaver show how this contact with police, courts, and prisons decreases faith in the capacity of American political institutions to respond to citizens’ concerns and diminishes the sense of full and equal citizenship—even for those who have not been found guilty of any crime. The effects of this increasingly frequent contact with the criminal justice system are wide-ranging—and pernicious—and Lerman and Weaver go on to offer concrete proposals for reforms to reincorporate this large group of citizens as active participants in American civic and political life.

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Editorial Reviews

Joe Soss
Arresting Citizenship is a landmark book. It shines a bright light on the myriad ways that criminal justice policies are undermining American democracy. It is also an exemplary piece of social science research that combines coherent and powerful empirical analysis with impassioned calls to recognize injustice in our midst. This book will be tremendously important and a must-read for scholars working in relevant areas of the social sciences.”
Jeff Manza
“Amy E. Lerman and Vesla M. Weaver have written a fabulous book that makes the original and important argument that the criminal justice system is rife with racial and economic inequalities and strips those who enter it of many basic rights of citizenship. In doing so, they address a breathtaking range of issues concerning contemporary criminal justice and connect these issues brilliantly to give a clear and compelling discussion of how institutions have helped create a new class of disempowered citizens.”
Joe Soss

Arresting Citizenship is a landmark book. It shines a bright light on the myriad ways that criminal justice policies are undermining American democracy. It is also an exemplary piece of social science research that combines coherent and powerful empirical analysis with impassioned calls to recognize injustice in our midst. This book will be tremendously important and a must-read for scholars working in relevant areas of the social sciences.”
Jeff Manza

“Amy E. Lerman and Vesla M. Weaver have written a fabulous book that makes the original and important argument that the criminal justice system is rife with racial and economic inequalities and strips those who enter it of many basic rights of citizenship. In doing so, they address a breathtaking range of issues concerning contemporary criminal justice and connect these issues brilliantly to give a clear and compelling discussion of how institutions have helped create a new class of disempowered citizens.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226137834
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 6/20/2014
  • Series: Chicago Studies in American Politics Series
  • Pages: 312
  • Sales rank: 498,298
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Amy E. Lerman is assistant professor in the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of The Modern Prison Paradox. She lives in Berkeley, CA. Vesla M. Weaver is assistant professor in the Department of African American Studies and the Department of Political Science at Yale University. She lives in New Haven, CT, and is coauthor of Creating a New Racial Order.

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