Malign Neglect
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Malign Neglect : Race, Crime, and Punishment in America

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Despite the perennial claims of politicians that our courts are coddling hardened criminals, the fact is that America already sends a higher proportion of its citizens to prison-and for longer terms-than any other western nation. To quote the Canadian House of Commons's Committee on Justice, "If locking up those who violate the law contributed to safer societies, then the United States should be the safest country in the world." Yet despite well-documented and mounting evidence that increased penalties alone cannot reduce crime, the Reagan and Bush administrations repeatedly lobbied for tougher mandatory sentences and more prisons. Although black crime rates have been stable for twenty years, the number and percentages of blacks in jail and prison have skyrocketed since Ronald Reagan took office. The trend continues with President Clinton, who recently called for "three strikes you're out" legislation dictating mandatory life sentences for third felony convictions. In Malign Neglect, Michael Tonry addresses these paradoxes with passion and lucidity. Drawing on a vast compendium of the latest statistical, legal and social science research, he takes on the explosive issues of race, crime and punishment. As unconventional as he is committed, Tonry confronts uncomfortable truths head-on. On the one hand, he is outraged by politicians' talk of Willy Horton and Welfare Queens. The texts may be crime and welfare, Tonry writes, but the subtext is race. While he recognizes that the disadvantaged have no license to attack, rape or steal, and that the absolution of disadvantaged offenders would require a cynical acceptance of the suffering of victims, he argues powerfully that crime control policies can be recast so that, without diminishing public safety, they do less harm to disadvantaged black Americans. Tonry presents devastating evidence that our current policies are decimating black communities, and impeding the movement of disadvantaged black Americans into the social and economic mainstream of modern America. A blistering attack on worn-out misconceptions about race, poverty, crime and punishment and a fearless prescription for change, Malign Neglect is an indispensable briefing paper on a topic which goes to the heart and soul of the nation.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 142.24 x 208.28 x 15.24mm | 317.51g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 20 line illus.
  • 0195104692
  • 9780195104691
  • 1,658,784

Review quote

Great book. [Tonry] is very knowledgeable and honest. * Tara Gray, New Mexico State University * A useful review of the data on racial disparities in the criminal justice system. * Times Literary Supplement * Scholarly and eloquent.... Smashes our complacent rationalizations about crime and punishment in America, particularly about black men. * Minneapolis Star Tribune * Malign Neglect makes plain the causes of today's burgeoning incarceration of African-American men. It documents the cynicism, hypocrisy, and racism of the war on drugs, demonstrates the inhumanity of current state and federal sentencing guidelines, and considers with sense and sensitivity the revelance of social disadvantage in resolving criminal justice issues. The book offers sound prescriptions for fixing some of the things that are wrong * dreadfully wrong * Malign Neglect should be required reading for all criminal justice policy makers. It makes a complex problem clearly understandable, and it presents sensible remedies. I recommend Malign Neglect to all who want to understand the devastating consequences, especially on black males, of current criminal justice policies. Will such policies reduce crime? Not in my judgment. Michael Tonry has written a brilliant book! * Sheldon L. Messinger, Florence J. Boalt Professor of Law, Emeritus, School of Law, University of California, Berkeley * Provides a careful examination of the most important topic in criminal justice for the next decate. * Carol Y. Thompson, Ph.D., Texas Christian University * Malign Neglect provides a knowledgeable, wide-ranging, hard-hitting examination of the myriad things wrong * dreadfully wrong * Tonry provides detailed discussion and analysis of patterns that result when an African American is thrust into the criminal system.... Uncomfortable but necessary reading for all Americans. * Booklist * Passionate and eloquent.... Supremely timely.... Will stimulate debate about policy options and may open doors to alternative treatments for criminal offenders. * The Law and Politics Review * Noted criminologist Michael Tonry...asserts that racial bias is built into the laws. * The Wall Street Journal * Exceptional book. Important examination of the effects of societal racism. * Christian Molidon, University of Texas at Arlington * An important and useful book, great for undergraduates! * Dan Lewis, Northeastern University * Tonry's work is a powerful analysis of crime and punishment in the U.S. which offers stunning insights into the nature of American justice * first-rate scholarship. * This is a fantastic book * cogent, angry, readable. * Outstanding and thought provoking....Malign Neglect really gets to the core of the problems that exist in America's criminal justice system. * Free Press * Tonry minces no words in dealing with what he sees as the serious misinformation about race, poverty, crime, and punishment which steers the current crime prevention program....This book is a serious attempt to focus on reducing the racial disparities in the criminal justice system without harming public safety, a formidable task. * KLIATT *show more

About Michael Tonry

Michael Tonry is Sonosky Professor of Law and Public Policy at the University of Minnesota. He is the co-author of Between Prison and Probation, with Norval Morris, editor of the leading journal Crime and Justice-A Review of Research, and General Editor, with Morris, of the Oxford University Press series Studies in Crime and Public Policy.show more

Rating details

25 ratings
3.68 out of 5 stars
5 20% (5)
4 36% (9)
3 36% (9)
2 8% (2)
1 0% (0)
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