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Beyond These Walls: Rethinking Crime and Punishment in the United States

Beyond These Walls: Rethinking Crime and Punishment in the United States

Written by Tony Platt

Narrated by Jason Culp


Beyond These Walls: Rethinking Crime and Punishment in the United States

Written by Tony Platt

Narrated by Jason Culp

ratings:
4.5/5 (2 ratings)
Length:
12 hours
Released:
Jan 8, 2019
ISBN:
9781721342662
Format:
Audiobook

Description

A groundbreaking investigation into the roots of the American criminal justice system reveals how the past bleeds into the present.

Beyond These Walls is an ambitious and far-ranging exploration that tracks the legacy of crime and imprisonment in the United States, from the historical roots of the American criminal justice system to our modern state of over-incarceration, and offers a bold vision for a new future. Author Tony Platt, a recognized authority in the field of criminal justice, challenges the way we think about how and why millions of people are tracked, arrested, incarcerated, catalogued, and regulated in the United States.

Beyond These Walls traces the disturbing history of punishment and social control, revealing how the criminal justice system attempts to enforce and justify inequalities associated with class, race, gender, and sexuality. Prisons and police departments are central to this process, but other institutions — from immigration and welfare to educational and public health agencies — are equally complicit.

Platt argues that international and national politics shape perceptions of danger and determine the policies of local criminal justice agencies, while private policing and global corporations are deeply and undemocratically involved in the business of homeland security.

Finally, Beyond These Walls demonstrates why efforts to reform criminal justice agencies have often expanded rather than contracted the net of social control. Drawing upon a long tradition of popular resistance, Platt concludes with a strategic vision of what it will take to achieve justice for all in this era of authoritarian disorder.

Released:
Jan 8, 2019
ISBN:
9781721342662
Format:
Audiobook

About the author

TONY PLATT is a Distinguished Affiliated Scholar at the Center for the Study of Law & Society, University of California, Berkeley. The author of numerous books dealing with issues of criminal justice, race, inequality, and social justice in American history, including Beyond These Walls: Rethinking Crime and Punishment in the United States, he previously taught at the University of Chicago, Berkeley, and California state universities. Platt’s experience as a political activist and public intellectual informs his research and publications. He lives in Berkeley, CA.


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  • (4/5)
    Summary Dr Platt, a well-established criminologist, outlines the history and current state of incarceration in the US. He covers topics such as how women and minorities as overly-impacted by the harsh sentences, the overpopulated prisons, and the enforced deportations of documented and undocumented immigrants. He warns us that past efforts at reforming the system have actually resulted in changes for the worse. He urges that change needs to happen from the top down, rather than from the bottom up – in other words, we need to change how the people at the top think about incarceration, and not focus only on punishing the people at the bottom (i.e. cops and prison guards) for the failures of the system. He suggests that if we punished white collar crimes (especially those that affect thousands of people) with the same ferocity as crimes of the poor, then reform would happen faster – since the people who have power to do something about the problem will witness the problem first hand.My Thoughts I admit, at first I didn’t think I was going to like this book. It started out slow – detail-heavy, with too many statistics listed in sentence after sentence. However, I started getting more into the narrative by the second or third chapter, when Platt started including more information on each event spoken about, instead of just listing events. By the end of the book, I was quite enjoying the educational aspects of the book. This is a topic that I have read a bit on, but not extensively, so I can say that it is a good book for a lay-person trying to educate herself on the history of incarceration in the US. Platt’s views on how we got where we are today, and some of his suggestions of how to look at reform differently (i.e. from the top down and by putting more white-collar people in prison) are definitely food for thought. This is a well-researched book, with lots of important information. It’s not fast reading, but it is worthwhile.
  • (5/5)
    When the media talks about a rise in crime, prison overcrowding, and repeat offenders, most people automatically think of murderers, rapists, and other violent offenders. In fact, violent crime has been in a sharp decline for years. Rarely does mainstream media clarify that these crimes are relatively minor in the scheme of things, that they are largely social crimes like drug use, and the prisons have a revolving door because we've designed prisons - and society - to function that way. With 'Beyond These Walls', Tony Platt takes us deep into the criminal justice system, showing us the complexities and many facets of a system gone horribly wrong. Platt doesn't just talk about what's broken, he shows us exactly how it got that way. This is a vital aspect because before we can begin to correct the mistakes, we first have to identify them.The content encompasses a broad range of information, yet it's not weighed down with statistics and textbook-style lingo. The writing style is more conversational than scholarly. This book should be required reading in every social science and criminal justice program. Ideally, I'd like everyone to read it. Until we start making loud enough demands for change, the system is only destined to get worse.*I received an advance ebook copy from the publisher, via NetGalley.*