There are five times as many Americans behind bars today as in 1970. The national incarceration rate in 1997 was twice that in 1985. California's prison system has become the third largest in the world. And despite some limited recent declines in crime rates, we remain by far the most violent industrial society on earth.
Though our massive investment in the prison system has not resulted in enduring public safety, politicians and the media continue to insist that America's unique problem of violence is the result of a lenient society "soft" on criminals; that incarcerating an ever-larger proportion of our population is a "social program that works;" and that all other approaches to crimefrom prevention to rehabilitationhave failed. Nationally acclaimed criminologist Elliott Currie dissects these myths in a groundbreaking book that is already changing the terms of the current debate.
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About the Author
Elliott Currie is the author of Confronting Crime, hailed as "original and incisive, the only realistic hope in years" (The New York Times), Reckoning, and the coauthor of the classic text Crisis in American Institutions. Currie has taught sociology and criminology at Yale University and the University of California at Berkeley. He has been a consultant to a wide range of organizations, including the National Advisory Council on Economic Opportunity and the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, and currently serves as vice-chair of the Eisenhower Foundation. An international authority on crime and punishment, Currie presently teaches in the Legal Studies Program at the University of California at Berkeley.
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