Politics, Punishment, and Populism

Politics, Punishment, and Populism

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Politics, Punishment, and Populism by Windlesham, Lord Windlesham, David James George He Windlesham

The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 was arguably the most important legislative achievement of President Clinton's first term. In this detailed account, Lord Windlesham, a prominent legal scholar, British legislator, and Oxford College Principal, brings his experience to bear in analyzing the forces inside and outside the 103rd Congress, which shaped the final content of the Act. Controversial issues discussed include racial justice, "three strikes and you're out" and mandatory sentencing, the Brady Act and the assault weapons ban, the competing claims of prison building and prevention programs, drug policies, and restrictions on repeat sex offenders after release from prison.

The narrative of Politics, Punishment, and Populism continues with the "Contract with America" and the crime policies adopted after the Republicans won control of both the House and Senate in the elections for the 104th Congress. The external pressures, and the Congressional tactics deployed to facilitate passage of such measures as the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, Megan's Law, and the Prison Litigation Reform Act, are examined in the second part of the book. Subsequent challenges in the courts are also reviewed, including some cases decided by the Supreme Court at the end of its 1996-97 term.

The focal point throughout is the impact of populist opinion, as well as that of special-interest groups, upon elected representatives in the formation of public policy. The role of one of the most politically potent of all lobbies, the National Rifle Association, is assessed in the context of the competition it faces from an increasingly activist gun control movement. The book concludes by asking whether an end is in sight regarding America's isolated tolerance of lethal weapons.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780195115307
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date: 07/28/1998
Series: Studies in Crime and Public Policy Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Lord Windlesham is Principal of Brasenose College at Oxford University and national President of Victim Support in the United Kingdom. He was Chairman of the Parole Board for England and Wales in the 1980s, and before that served in government as a Minister at the Home Office and the Northern Ireland Office. Among other books, his published work includes the three-volume Responses to Crime (Oxford University Press, 1987-96). Lord Windlesham was the Weinberg/Goldman Sachs Visiting Professor at Princeton University in 1997.

Table of Contents

1 The Politics of Crime
2 Organized Interests and Populist Beliefs
3 Symbolism and Reality
4 Partisanship and Compromise
5 Ending the Insanity
6 Processing the Contract
7 Money and Ideology
8 Congress and the Courts
9 A New Isolationism
Appendix 227(2)
Notes 229(38)
Index 267

What People are Saying About This

Stanley N. Katz

'This book brilliantly lays out the dynamics of the dilemmas of punishing crime in the States, and sorts through the impact of politics in the way that only the wisest and most knowledgeable of foreigners can do. The punishment of crime in America has found its Tocqueville." -- Princeton University

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