Listed below are books received for review over the last two months. Entries include publishing information as well as a description of the book. Unless otherwise stated, the book description is taken from the publisher’s website or the book jacket. Selected titles from this list will be chosen for a full review in forthcoming issues of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Books. Previous books received are available from the links below.
|Barrio Libre: Criminalizing States and Delinquent Refusals of the New Frontier, by Gilberto Rosas. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2012. 200p.
“The city of Nogales straddles the border running between Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. On the Mexican side, marginalized youths calling themselves Barrio Libre (Free ‘Hood) employ violence, theft, and bribery to survive, often preying on undocumented migrants who navigate the city’s sewer system to cross the US-Mexico border. In this book, Gilberto Rosas draws on his in-depth ethnographic research among the members of Barrio Libre to understand why they have embraced criminality and how neoliberalism and security policies on both sides of the border have affected the youths’ descent into Barrio Libre.
Rosas argues that although these youths participate in the victimization of others, they should not be demonized. They are complexly and adversely situated. The effects of NAFTA have forced many of them, as well as other Mexicans, to migrate to Nogales. Moving fluidly with the youths through the spaces that they inhabit and control, he slows how the militarization of the border actually destabilized the region and led Barrio Libre to turn to increasingly violent activities, including drug trafficking. By focusing on these youths and their delinquency, Rosas demonstrates how capitalism and criminality shape perceptions and experiences of race, sovereignty, and resistance along the US-Mexico border.” (From Publisher’s Website)
|Criminological and Legal Consequences of Climate Change¸ edited by Stephen Farrall, Tawhida Ahmed, and Duncan French. Portland, OR: Hart Publishing, 2012. 282p.
“This edited collection, the result of an international seminar held at the International Institute for the Sociology of Law, Oñati, Spain in 2010, explores the potential legal and criminological consequences of climate change, both domestically and for the international community. A novel feature of the book is the consideration given to the potential synergies between the two disciplinary foci, thus to encourage among legal scholars and criminologists not only an analysis of the consequences of climate change from these perspectives but to bring these fields together to provide a unique, inter-disciplinary exploration of the ways in which climate change does, or could, impact on our societies. Such an inter-disciplinary approach is necessary given that climate change is a multifaceted phenomenon and one which is intimately linked across disciplines. To study this topic from the point of view of a single social science discipline restricts our understanding of the societal consequences of climate change. It is hoped that this edited collection will identify emerging areas of concern, illuminate areas for further research and, most of all, encourage future academic discussion on this most critical of issues.” (From Publisher’s Website)
|Cycles of Poverty and Crime in America’s Inner Cities, by Lewis D. Solomon. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books, 2012. 171p.
“Despite the best hopes of the past half century, black urban pathologies persist in America. The inner cities remain concentrations of the uneducated, unemployed, underemployed, and unemployable. Many fail to stay in school and others choose lives of drugs, violence, and crime. Most do not marry, leading to single-parent households and children without a father figure. The cycle repeats itself generation after generation.
It is easy to argue that nothing works, given the policy failures of the past. For Lewis D. Solomon, fatalism is not acceptable. A complex and interrelated web of issues plague inner-city black males: joblessness; the failure of public education; crime, mass incarceration, and drugs; the collapse of married, two-parent families; and negative cultural messages. Rather than abandon the black urban underclass, Solomon presents strategies and programs to rebuild lives and revitalize America’s inner cities. These approaches are neither government oriented nor dependent on federal intervention, and they are not futuristic.
|In the Shadow of the Gallows: Race, Crime, and American Civic Identity, by Jeannine Marie DeLombard. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012. 456p.
“From Puritan Execution Day rituals to gangsta rap, the black criminal has been an enduring presence in American culture. To understand why, Jeannine Marie DeLombard insists, we must set aside the lenses of pathology and persecution and instead view the African American felon from the far more revealing perspectives of publicity and personhood. When the Supreme Court declared in Dred Scott that African Americans have ‘no rights which the white man was bound to respect,’ it overlooked the right to due process, which ensured that black offenders—even slaves—appeared as persons in the eyes of the law. In the familiar account of African Americans’ historical shift ‘from plantation to prison,’ we have forgotten how, for a century before the Civil War, state punishment affirmed black political membership in the breach, while a thriving popular crime literature provided early America’s best-known models of individual black selfhood. Before there was the slave narrative, there was the criminal confession.
Placing the black condemned at the forefront of the African American canon allows us to see how a later generation of enslaved activists—most notably, Frederick Douglass—could marshal the public presence and civic authority necessary to fashion themselves as eligible citizens. At the same time, in an era when abolitionists were charging Americans with the national crime of ‘manstealing,’ a racialized sense of culpability became equally central to white civic identity. What, for African Americans, is the legacy of a citizenship grounded in culpable personhood? For white Americans, must membership in a nation built on race slavery always betoken guilt? In the Shadow of the Gallows reads classics by J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur, Edgar Allan Poe, Frederick Douglass, Herman Melville, George Lippard, and Edward Everett Hale alongside execution sermons, criminal confessions, trial transcripts, philosophical treatises, and political polemics to address fundamental questions about race, responsibility, and American civic belonging.” (From Publisher’s Website)
|In This Timeless Time: Living & Dying on Death Row in America, by Bruce Jackson and Diane Christian. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 2012. 256p.
“In this stark and powerful book, Bruce Jackson and Diane Christian explore life on Death Row in Texas and in other states, as well as the convoluted and arbitrary judicial processes that populate all Death Rows. They document the capriciousness of capital punishment and capture the day-to-day experiences of Death Row inmates in the official ‘nonperiod’ between sentencing and execution.
In the first section, ‘Pictures,’ ninety-two photographs taken during their fieldwork for the book and documentary film Death Row illustrate life on cell block J in Ellis Unit of the Texas Department of Corrections. The second section, ‘Words,’ further reveals the world of Death Row prisoners and offers an unflinching commentary on the judicial system and the fates of the men they met on the Row. The third section, ‘Working,’ addresses profound moral and ethical issues the authors have encountered throughout their careers documenting the Row.
Included is a DVD of Jackson and Christian’s 1979 documentary film, Death Row.” (From Publisher’s Website)
|Jury Decision Making: The State of the Science, by Dennis J. Devine. New York: New York University Press, 2012. 283p.
“While jury decision making has received considerable attention from social scientists, there have been few efforts to systematically pull together all the pieces of this research. In Jury Decision Making, Dennis J. Devine examines over 50 years of research on juries and offers a “big picture” overview of the field.
The volume summarizes existing theories of jury decision making and identifies what we have learned about jury behavior, including the effects of specific courtroom practices, the nature of the trial, the characteristics of the participants, and the evidence itself. Making use of those foundations, Devine offers a new integrated theory of jury decision making that addresses both individual jurors and juries as a whole and discusses its ramifications for the courts.
Providing a unique combination of broad scope, extensive coverage of the empirical research conducted over the last half century, and theory advancement, this accessible and engaging volume offers “one-stop shopping” for scholars, students, legal professionals, and those who simply wish to better understand how well the jury system works. “(From Publisher’s Website)
|Mexico: Democracy Interrupted, by Jo Tuckman. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2012. 328p.
“In 2000, Mexico’s long invincible Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) lost the presidential election to Vicente Fox of the National Action Party (PAN). The ensuing changeover—after 71 years of PRI dominance—was hailed as the beginning of a new era of hope for Mexico. Yet the promises of the PAN victory were not consolidated. In this vivid account of Mexico’s recent history, a journalist with extensive reporting experience investigates the nation’s young democracy, its shortcomings and achievements, and why the PRI is favored to retake the presidency in 2012.
Jo Tuckman reports on the murky, terrifying world of Mexico’s drug wars, the counterproductive government strategy, and the impact of U.S. policies. She describes the reluctance and inability of politicians to seriously tackle rampant corruption, environmental degradation, pervasive poverty, and acute inequality. To make matters worse, the influence of non-elected interest groups has grown and public trust in almost all institutions—including the Catholic church—is fading. The pressure valve once presented by emigration is also closing. Even so, there are positive signs: the critical media cannot be easily controlled, and small but determined citizen groups notch up significant, if partial, victories for accountability. While Mexico faces complex challenges that can often seem insurmountable, Tuckman concludes, the unflagging vitality and imagination of many in Mexico inspire hope for a better future.” (From Publisher’s Website)
|Mexico’s Struggle for Public Security: Organized Crime and State Responses, edited by George Philip and Susana Berruecos. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. 222p.
“Organized crime in Mexico has been responsible for a worrying increase in violence in that country since Felipe Calderon assumed the presidency in 2006. The country’s main criminal gangs are now a real challenge to the Mexican state. Government policies aimed at combating that threat have not been very successful to date. While it is certainly possible to exaggerate the threat posed to the Mexican state by organized crime, the real problems posed are serious enough. This book considers the issue from a variety of viewpoints. The essential argument is that the organized crime is best combated by institutional reforms directed at strengthening the rule of law and winning over public opinion, rather than by a heavy reliance on armed force. Some such reforms have indeed taken place in Mexico and are discussed in the book.” (From Publisher’s Website)
|On the Account: Piracy and the Americas, 1766-1835, by Joseph Gibbs. Eastbourne, UK: Sussex Academic Press, 2012. 256p.
“In addition to being commercialized and romanticized, piracy’s history has also been distorted, with many works straying far from the facts recorded in the Age of Sail. In this book, author Joseph Gibbs goes back to many of the original materials about those who ‘went on the account’ (a classic euphemism for piracy) to deliver an engaging, closely interpreted anthology of seven decades of primary sources. The text comprises original monographs, broadsides, trial records, newspaper articles, and official reports that deal with piracy in and involving the Americas in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Joseph Gibbs annotates and explains these records in order to clarify the era’s historical, legal, literary, and nautical references.
… Along the way readers will experience violent mutinies, vicious sea battles, anti-piracy raids on Louisiana islands and Latin American coasts, and the United States’ first sustained encounter with the Barbary Corsairs. They will also catch glimpses of maritime brigands as remarkable as any that walked the decks of piracy’s earlier ‘golden age’ and encounter the naval officers and sailors who strove to bring them to rough justice. Enhanced with period maps and illustrations, On the Account provides an enlightening introduction to piracy’s original canon as it emerged in the era of the quill pen and hand-operated press.” (From Publisher’s Website)
|Policing in Hong Kong, by Kam C. Wong. Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2012. 385p.
“This book is one of the first to document the challenges and opportunities facing the Hong Kong police force following the reversion of political authority from the UK to China in 1997. Thematically organized and oriented towards those issues of greatest concern to the public, such as police accountability, assaults on police, police deployment, surveillance powers, and policing across borders, it provides a detailed discussion of these and other contemporary issues. The opening chapter sets the work within historical context while the final chapter provides a comparison of policing in Hong Kong with public security in the PRC.
The book will be of value to students and researchers working in the area of comparative policing, and comparative criminal justice, as well as police professionals, and policy-makers.” (From Publisher’s Website)
|Policing and Security in Practice: Challenges and Achievements, edited by Tim Prenzler. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. 256p.
“Modern policing is a vital institution for the defense of political and civil rights, and the protection of citizens from crime and fear of crime. Private security is also playing an increasingly important role in crime prevention and order maintenance, and also in protecting government assets and services. At the same time, crime and disorder remain major problems in contemporary societies, and there are ongoing issues of integrity and competency in many police departments and in the security industry.
Policing and Security in Practice: Challenges and Achievements addresses questions of ‘best practice’ across police and security work by focusing on what the scientific literature says about how to achieve optimal outcomes in law enforcement, crime prevention and professional standards. Each chapter is written by subject experts with many years of research experience and collaborative work with policing and security agencies. The book is a highly readable, inspiring and fully grounded guide to achieving the best in policing and security.” (From Publisher’s Website)
|Policing: Politics, Culture and Control, edited by Tim Newburn and Jill Peay. Portland, OR: Hart Publishing, 2012. 312p.
“Bringing together a range of leading social scientists and criminologists, this volume explores a number of key themes raised by the work of Robert Reiner. Arguably the leading policing scholar of his generation, Reiner’s work over some 40 years has ranged broadly in this field, taking in the study of police history, culture, organisation, elites and relationships with the media. Always carefully situated within an analysis of the changing socio-political circumstances of policing and crime control, Robert Reiner’s scholarship has been path-breaking in its impact.
The 13 original essays in this volume are testament to Reiner’s influence. Although reflecting the primarily British bent within his work, the essays also draw on contributors from Australia, Europe, South Africa and the United States to explore some of the leading debates of the moment. These include, but are not limited to, the impact of neo-liberalism on crime control and the challenges for modern social democracy; police culture, equality and political economy; new media and the future of policing; youth, policing and democracy, and the challenges and possibilities posed by globalisation in the fields of policing and security.” (From Publisher’s Website)
|Prostitution, Harm and Gender Inequality: Theory, Research and Policy, edited by Maddy Coy. Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2012. 222p.
“Prostitution, Harm and Gender Inequality brings together international research exploring the range of gendered harms to women involved in prostitution and the consequences of growth of the sex industry for global gender relations. While there is an increasing amount of research and academic output on prostitution, the current focus is often on discussion and critique of policy frameworks, and contemporary debates over harm are largely limited to sex trafficking and sexual exploitation of children. Less attention is paid to questions of how the sex industry perpetuates notions of objectification and male entitlement with respect to sexual access to women’s bodies, despite being key feminist concerns for several decades. This position has become effectively marginalized, but the global growth and industrialization of the sex industry requires a return to these questions.
Through exploring gendered inequality and re-engaging with an understanding of prostitution as harmful with impacts on the self and body that are experienced as abusive but do not always constitute violence, this book introduces a range of research and thinking, while also drawing on existing literature to explore the consequences of prostitution for women in the sex industry and wider gender relations.
These issues are discussed with regard to: coercion and recruitment, including trafficking; notions of male entitlement in accounts of men who buy sex; critical interrogations of agency and choice; legal and policy frameworks; and representations of prostitution in popular culture.” (From Publisher’s Website)
|Prostitution Scandals in China: Policing, media and society, by Elaine Jeffreys. New York: Routledge, 2012. 196p.
“Prostitution Scandals in China presents an examination of media coverage of prostitution-related scandals in contemporary China. It demonstrates that the subject of prostitution is not only widely debated, but also that these public discussions have ramifications for some of the key social, legal and political issues affecting citizens of the PRC. Further, this book shows how these public discussions impact on issues as diverse as sexual exploitation, civil rights, government corruption, child and youth protection, policing abuses, and public health.
In this book Elaine Jeffreys highlights China’s changing sexual behaviours in the context of rapid social and economic change. Her work points to changes in the nature of the PRC’s prostitution controls flowing from media exposure of policing and other abuses. It also illustrates the emergence of new and legally based conceptions of rightful citizenship in China today, such as children’s rights, the right to privacy, work, sex, and health, and the rights of citizens to claim legal redress for losses and injuries experienced as the result of unlawful acts by state personnel.
|Rape in Chicago: Race, Myth, and the Courts, by Dawn Rae Flood. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2012. 256p.
“Spanning a period of four tumultuous decades from the mid-1930s through the mid-1970s, this study reassesses the ways in which Chicagoans negotiated the extraordinary challenges of rape, as either victims or accused perpetrators. Drawing on extensive trial testimony, government reports, and media coverage, Dawn Rae Flood examines how individual men and women, particularly African Americans, understood and challenged rape myths and claimed their right to be protected as American citizens–protected by the State against violence, and protected from the State’s prejudicial investigations and interrogations.
During the crises of the Great Depression and World War II, already-taboo problems such as sexual violence were further downplayed in favor of dealing with national issues. For cases that did go forward to conviction, trial narratives focused on protecting the female victim, protection that even extended to African American women. Amid the social reform of the 1960s and 1970s, prosecutors added more corroborative evidence to victims’ claims, thereby assuming less faith in their testimonies and allowing defense attorneys and judges to interrogate women’s sexual histories. The 1970s intensified the corroborative elements of rape trials, even as a vocal feminist movement sought to improve the treatment of rape victims both inside and outside courtrooms. Flood shows how defense strategies, evolving in concert with changes in the broader cultural and legal environment, challenged assumptions about black criminality while continuing to deploy racist and sexist stereotypes against the victims.
Thoughtfully combining legal studies, medical history, and personal accounts, Flood pays special attention to how medical evidence was considered in rape cases and how victim-patients were treated by hospital personnel. She also analyzes medical testimony in modern rape trials, tracing the evolution of contemporary ‘rape kit’ procedures as shaped by legal requirements, trial strategies, feminist reform efforts, and women’s experiences.” (From Publisher’s Website)
|Real Gangstas: Legitimacy, Reputation, and Violence in the Intergang Environment, by Timothy R. Lauger. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2012. 272p.
“Street gangs are a major concern for residents in many inner-city communities. However, gangs’ secretive and, at times, delinquent tendencies limit most people’s exposure to the realities of gang life. Based on eighteen months of qualitative research on the streets of Indianapolis, Real Gangstas provides a unique and intimate look at the lives of street gang members as they negotiate a dangerous peer environment in a major midwestern city.
Timothy R. Lauger interviewed and observed a mix of fifty-five gang members, former gang members, and non-gang street offenders. He spent much of his fieldwork time in the company of a particular gang, the ‘Down for Whatever Boyz,’ who allowed him to watch and record many of their day-to-day activities and conversations. Through this extensive research, Lauger is able to understand and explain the reasons for gang membership, including a chaotic family life, poverty, and the need for violent self-assertion in order to foster the creation of a personal identity.
Although the book exposes many troubling aspects of gang life, it is not a simple descriptive or a sensationalistic account of urban despair and violence. Steeped in the tradition of analytical ethnography, the study develops a central theoretical argument: combinations of street gangs within cities shape individual gang member behavior within those urban settings. Within Indianapolis, members of rival gangs interact on a routine basis within an ambiguous and unstable environment. Participants believe that many of their contemporaries claiming gang affiliations are not actually ‘real’ gang members, but instead are imposters who gain access to the advantages of gang membership through fraud and pretense. Consequently, the ability to discern ‘real’ gang members—or to present oneself successfully as a real gang member—is a critical part of gangland Indianapolis.
Real Gangstas offers an objective and fair characterization of active gang members, successfully balancing the seemingly conflicting idea that they generally seem like normal teenagers, yet are abnormally concerned with—and too often involved in—violence. Lauger takes readers to the edge of an actual gang conflict, providing a rare and up-close look at the troubling processes that facilitate hostility and violence.” (From Publisher’s Website)
|Selling Women: Prostitution, Markets, and the Household in Early Modern Japan, by Amy Stanley. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2012. 282p.
“This book traces the social history of early modern Japan’s sex trade, from its beginnings in seventeenth-century cities to its apotheosis in the nineteenth-century countryside. Drawing on legal codes, diaries, town registers, petitions, and criminal records, it describes how the work of “selling women” transformed communities across the archipelago. By focusing on the social implications of prostitutes’ economic behavior, this study offers a new understanding of how and why women who work in the sex trade are marginalized. It also demonstrates how the patriarchal order of the early modern state was undermined by the emergence of the market economy, which changed the places of women in their households and the realm at large.” (From Publisher’s Website)
|Tracing Technologies: Prisoners’ Views in the Era of CSI, by Helena Machado and Barbara Prainsack. Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2012. 209p.
“The real heroes of television crime shows in the twenty-first century are no longer police detectives but forensic technologies. The immense popularity of high-tech crime television shows has changed the way in which crime scene work is viewed. The term ‘CSI-effect’ was coined to signify a situation where people’s views and practices have been influenced by such media representations, e.g. judges and jurors putting more weight on forensic evidence that has been produced with high-tech tools – in particular, DNA evidence – than on other kinds of evidence.
While considerable scholarly attention has been paid to examining the CSI effect on publics, jurors, judges, and police investigators, prisoners’ views on forensic technologies and policing have been under-explored. Drawing on a research sample of over 50 interviews carried out with prisoners in Portugal and Austria, this groundbreaking book shows how prisoners view crime scene traces, how they understand crime scene technologies, and what effect they attribute to the existence of large police databases on their own lives, careers, and futures.
Through critically engaging with STS, sociological and criminological perspectives on the use of DNA technologies within the criminal justice system, this work provides the reader with valuable insights into the effect of different legal, political, discursive, and historical configurations on how crime scene technologies are utilized by the police and related to by convicted offenders.” (From Publisher’s Website)
| Violence and the Pornographic Imaginary: The Politics of Sex, Gender, and Aggression in Hardcore Pornography, by Natalie Purcell. New York: Routledge, 2012. 246p.
“No cultural product reveals our collective fascination with sexual violence more candidly than popular heterosexual pornographies. They showcase scenes of intense sexual aggression and cruelty that are gendered in repetitive, patterned configurations—configurations that are designed to arouse. Purcell uses comparative critical analyses of popular pornographic movies to explore common fantasies of sexual violence and how they have changed over the past forty years. Adopting a thick descriptive approach, she moves beyond the mere observation and recording of instances of sexism and violence, elucidating the changing aesthetics, themes, and conventions of depicted sexual aggression and showing how they have emerged in specific socio-historical contexts. Purcell also draws from a range of industry publications and fan forums to examine the fabric and function of misogyny and violence in viewers’ fantasies and everyday lives. By documenting how popular pornographies have changed over time, this study sheds new light the evolving desires and anxieties of the genre’s growing U.S. audience.” (From Publisher’s Website)