Crime & Politics

Crime & Politics : Big Government's Erratic Campaign for Law and Order

3.28 (7 ratings by Goodreads)
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Why has America experienced an explosion in crime rates since 1960? Why has the crime rate dropped in recent years? Though politicians are always ready both to take the credit for crime reduction and to exploit grisly headlines for short-term political gain, these questions remain among the most important-and most difficult to answer-in America today. In Crime & Politics, award-winning journalist Ted Gest gives readers the inside story of how crime policy is formulated inside the Washington beltway and state capitols, why we've had cycle after cycle of ineffective federal legislation, and where promising reforms might lead us in the future. Gest examines how politicians first made crime a national rather than a local issue, beginning with Lyndon Johnson's crime commission and the landmark anti-crime law of 1968 and continuing right up to such present-day measures as "three strikes" laws, mandatory sentencing, and community policing. Gest exposes a lack of consistent leadership, backroom partisan politics, and the rush to embrace simplistic solutions as the main causes for why Federal and state crime programs have failed to make our streets safe.
But he also explores how the media aid and abet this trend by featuring lurid crimes that simultaneously frighten the public and encourage candidates to offer another round of quick-fix solutions. Drawing on extensive research and including interviews with Edwin Meese, Janet Reno, Joseph Biden, Ted Kennedy, and William Webster, Crime & Politics uncovers the real reasons why America continues to struggle with the crime problem and shows how we do a better job in the future.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 144.8 x 218.4 x 22.9mm | 408.24g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • 9 figures
  • 0195165519
  • 9780195165517
  • 2,112,692

Review quote

"Gest is a distinguished journalist who has devoted his career to studying both crime and the political machinations it engenders. His book is filled with important insights into the problems of crime and its political battlegrounds. He highlights a number of intelligent approaches for dealing with both aspects."-Alfred Blumstein, H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management, National Consortium on Violence Research (NCOVR), Carnegie Mellon
University "A unique contribution to understanding how criminal justice policies are fashioned at the national level. The book offers a compelling insider's view of the deals, political bargains, individual egos, and agency turf wars that shape the real world of federal criminal policy. The book spans several decades in which the modern criminal justice system was born and shaped. It is a must read for those who want to know how America lost its way in the war against
crime-and how we might find a path back to enlightened and rational domestic policies."-Dr. Barry Krisberg, President, National Council on Crime and Delinquency "Ted Gest has used his unique experience and talent to provide an insightful look at crime in America. Crime & Politics explores the interaction of the political process and the administration of justice, reveals serious systemic problems, and proposes some common sense solutions. It is valuable reading for everyone - in government or outside - who seeks a safer nation."-Ed Meese, former Attorney General of the United States "Leaves readers with a stark portrait of a national problem that has no clear solution."-Library Journal "Crime and Politics brilliantly explores the politics of various issues, including sentencing guidelines, juvenile book camps and three strikes laws. A must-read for any corrections professional who is serious about understanding the dynamics between politics and crime prevention."-Corrections Today
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About Ted Gest

Ted Gest directs the program on crime policy and the news media at the Jerry Lee Center of Criminology at the University of Pennsylvania, and is president of Criminal Justice Journalists. He also serves as Coordinator of the Council of Presidents of National Journalism Organizations. Previously, he was a senior writer for US News and World Report. He has won the Silver Gavel Award from the American Bar Association and awards from the National Council
on Crime and Delinquency.
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Rating details

7 ratings
3.28 out of 5 stars
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4 43% (3)
3 43% (3)
2 14% (1)
1 0% (0)
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