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The Great American Crime Myth
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This is a cogent, although admittedly not unbiased, analysis of misconceptions about crime and the criminal justice system. The main theme of the book is that the 'myths' on which efforts to deal with this crime 'anxiety' are based stem from two common beliefs--that there is an unprecedented crime wave, and that government should and can do something to recognize the source and purpose they serve, and also to know how and why Americans react to crime. Choice Wright offers a challenging new analysis of the misconceptions surrounding crime and an evaluation of the role of the criminal-justice system and the social context of crime. He notes that a comparatively high rate of violence has been characteristic of this nation from its earliest days and that crime waves and attempts at suppression have occurred at frequent intervals. He examines modern crime statistics and the distortions and confusion accompanying their use and looks at the effects of the pervasive fear of crime, demonstrating how law enforcement agencies and the press benefit from exaggerating its incidence and seriousness. The author makes a convincing case for the view that even with enlightened policies and higher levels of support, no criminal-justice system can, by itself, effect a significant reduction in crime. Since most crime is socially determined, he argues, we need to look at the conditions and attitudes within our society that create an atmosphere congenial to crime.
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"This is a cogent, although admittedly not unbiased, analysis of misconceptions about crime and the criminal justice system. The main theme of the book is that the myths' on which efforts to deal with this crime anxiety' are based stem from two common beliefs--that there is an unprecedented crime wave, and that government should and can do something about it. Wright argues that these myths must be understood to recognize the source and purpose they serve, and also to know how and why American react to crime. These myths are analyzed under three rubrics: The Crime Problem' describes the extent of crime, victimization and those who are vulnerable and the effects of fear and vulnerability on the quality of urban life; Crime and the Criminal justice System' treats understanding and intervention, punitiveness and reduction, protection of offenders and the exclusionary rule, how prisons change people, and crime for profit; Dealing with Crime' challenges the notion that more resources and severe sanctions will have a postive deterrent effect. Wright makes a convincing case for putting crime and its control efforts wihin the framework of other important social issues. He also advises wariness of those who claim it is a problem that can be resolved. Well referenced; the bibliographic essay is a potential research tool. Public and academic libraries."-Choice ?This is a cogent, although admittedly not unbiased, analysis of misconceptions about crime and the criminal justice system. The main theme of the book is that the myths' on which efforts to deal with this crime anxiety' are based stem from two common beliefs--that there is an unprecedented crime wave, and that government should and can do something about it. Wright argues that these myths must be understood to recognize the source and purpose they serve, and also to know how and why American react to crime. These myths are analyzed under three rubrics: The Crime Problem' describes the extent of crime, victimization and those who are vulnerable and the effects of fear and vulnerability on the quality of urban life; Crime and the Criminal justice System' treats understanding and intervention, punitiveness and reduction, protection of offenders and the exclusionary rule, how prisons change people, and crime for profit; Dealing with Crime' challenges the notion that more resources and severe sanctions will have a postive deterrent effect. Wright makes a convincing case for putting crime and its control efforts wihin the framework of other important social issues. He also advises wariness of those who claim it is a problem that can be resolved. Well referenced; the bibliographic essay is a potential research tool. Public and academic libraries.?-Choice

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