Here are some book-length works that examine the relationship between race, crime, policing, and incarceration. Inclusion of a book on this list does not constitute endorsement of its arguments by Princeton University Library or any of its staff.
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
Call Number: HV9950 A437 2020
Publication Date: 2020-01-07
Named one of the most important nonfiction books of the 21st century by Entertainment Weekly, Slate, Chronicle of Higher Education, Literary Hub, Book Riot, and Zora A tenth-anniversary edition of the iconic bestseller--"one of the most influential books of the past 20 years," according to the Chronicle of Higher Education--with a new preface by the author "It is in no small part thanks to Alexander's account that civil rights organizations such as Black Lives Matter have focused so much of their energy on the criminal justice system." --Adam Shatz, London Review of Books Seldom does a book have the impact of Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow. Since it was first published in 2010, it has been cited in judicial decisions and has been adopted in campus-wide and community-wide reads; it helped inspire the creation of the Marshall Project and the new $100 million Art for Justice Fund; it has been the winner of numerous prizes, including the prestigious NAACP Image Award; and it has spent nearly 250 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Most important of all, it has spawned a whole generation of criminal justice reform activists and organizations motivated by Michelle Alexander's unforgettable argument that "we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it." As the Birmingham News proclaimed, it is "undoubtedly the most important book published in this century about the U.S." Now, ten years after it was first published, The New Press is proud to issue a tenth-anniversary edition with a new preface by Michelle Alexander that discusses the impact the book has had and the state of the criminal justice reform movement today.
Locking up Our Own by James Forman
Call Number: HV9950 .F655 2017
Publication Date: 2017-04-18
Today, Americans are debating our criminal justice system with new urgency. Mass incarceration and aggressive police tactics-and their impact on people of color-are feeding outrage and a consensus that something must be done.But what if we only know half the story? In Locking Up Our Own, the Yale legal scholar and former public defender James Forman Jr. weighs the tragic role that some African Americans themselves played in escalating the war on crime. As Forman shows, the first substantial cohort of black mayors, judges, and police chiefs took office around the country amid a surge in crime. Many came to believe that tough measures-such as stringent drug and gun laws and "pretext traffic stops" in poor African American neighborhoods-were needed to secure a stable future for black communities. Some politicians and activists saw criminals as a "cancer" that had to be cut away from the rest of black America. Others supported harsh measures more reluctantly, believing they had no other choice in the face of a public safety emergency.Drawing on his experience as a public defender and focusing on Washington, D.C., Forman writes with compassion for individuals trapped in terrible dilemmas-from the young men and women he defended to officials struggling to cope with an impossible situation. The result is an original view of our justice system as well as a moving portrait of the human beings caught in its coils.
From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
Call Number: E185.86 T374 2016
Publication Date: 2016-02-23
The eruption of mass protests in the wake of the police murders of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner in New York City have challenged the impunity with which officers of the law carry out violence against Black people and punctured the illusion of a postracial America. The Black Lives Matter movement has awakened a new generation of activists. In this stirring and insightful analysis, activist and scholar Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor surveys the historical and contemporary ravages of racism and persistence of structural inequality such as mass incarceration and Black unemployment. In this context, she argues that this new struggle against police violence holds the potential to reignite a broader push for Black liberation.
Policing the Planet by Jordan T. Camp (Editor); Christina Heatherton (Editor)
Call Number: HV8141 .P5977 2016
Publication Date: 2016-05-24
Policing has become one of the urgent issues of our time, the target of dramatic movements and front-page coverage from coast to coast in the United States, and, indeed, across the world. Now a star-studded, wide-ranging collection of writers and activists offers a global response, describing ongoing struggles over policing from New York to Ferguson to Los Angeles, as well as London, Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg, and Mexico City. This book, combining first-hand accounts from organisers with the research of eminent scholars and contributions by leading artists, traces the global rise of the 'broken-windows' style of policing, first established in New York City under Police Commissioner William Bratton, who was appointed to the post in 1993 and then reappointed twenty years later in 2013. Initially praised as a comprehensive model of community policing, it purports to prevent major crimes by first criminalising small signs of disorder. In practice, this doctrine has broadened police power and contributed to the contemporary crisis of policing that has been sparked by notorious incidents of police brutality and killings.
Ghettoside by Jill Leovy
Call Number: HV6529 .L46 2014
Publication Date: 2015-01-27
On a warm spring evening in South Los Angeles, a young man is shot and killed on a sidewalk minutes away from his home, one of the thousands of black Americans murdered that year. His assailant runs down the street, jumps into an SUV, and vanishes, hoping to join the scores of killers in American cities who are never arrested for their crimes. But as soon as the case is assigned to Detective John Skaggs, the odds shift. Here is the kaleidoscopic story of the quintessential, but mostly ignored, American murder--a "ghettoside" killing, one young black man slaying another--and a brilliant and driven cadre of detectives whose creed is to pursue justice for forgotten victims at all costs. Ghettoside is a fast-paced narrative of a devastating crime, an intimate portrait of detectives and a community bonded in tragedy, and a surprising new lens into the great subject of why murder happens in our cities--and how the epidemic of killings might yet be stopped.
Fight the Power by Clarence Taylor
Call Number: HV8148.N5 T39 2019
Publication Date: 2018-12-20
A story of resistance, power and politics as revealed through New York City's complex history of police brutality The 2014 killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri was the catalyst for a national conversation about race, policing, and injustice. The subsequent killings of other black (often unarmed) citizens led to a surge of media coverage which in turn led to protests and clashes between the police and local residents that were reminiscent of the unrest of the 1960s. Fight the Power examines the explosive history of police brutality in New York City and the black community's long struggle to resist it. Taylor brings this story to life by exploring the institutions and the people that waged campaigns to end the mistreatment of people of color at the hands of the police, including the black church, the black press, black communists and civil rights activists. Ranging from the 1940s to the mayoralty of Bill de Blasio, Taylor describes the significant strides made in curbing police power in New York City, describing the grassroots street campaigns as well as the accomplishments achieved in the political arena and in the city's courtrooms. Taylor challenges the belief that police reform is born out of improved relations between communities and the authorities arguing that the only real solution is radically reducing the police domination of New York's black citizens.
Hands up, Don't Shoot by Jennifer E. Cobbina
Publication Date: 2019-07-30
Understanding the explosive protests over police killings and the legacy of racism Following the high-profile deaths of eighteen-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and twenty-five-year-old Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Maryland, both cities erupted in protest over the unjustified homicides of unarmed black males at the hands of police officers. These local tragedies--and the protests surrounding them--assumed national significance, igniting fierce debate about the fairness and efficacy of the American criminal justice system. Yet, outside the gaze of mainstream attention, how do local residents and protestors in Ferguson and Baltimore understand their own experiences with race, place, and policing? In Hands Up, Don't Shoot, Jennifer Cobbina draws on in-depth interviews with nearly two hundred residents of Ferguson and Baltimore, conducted within two months of the deaths of Brown and Gray. She examines how protestors in both cities understood their experiences with the police, how those experiences influenced their perceptions of policing, what galvanized Black Lives Matter as a social movement, and how policing tactics during demonstrations influenced subsequent mobilization decisions among protesters. Ultimately, she humanizes people's deep and abiding anger, underscoring how a movement emerged to denounce both racial biases by police and the broader economic and social system that has stacked the deck against young black civilians. Hands Up, Don't Shoot is a remarkably current, on-the-ground assessment of the powerful, protestor-driven movement around race, justice, and policing in America.
A Theory of African American Offending by James D. Unnever; Shaun L. Gabbidon
Call Number: HV6197.U5 U56 2011
Publication Date: 2011-02-28
A little more than a century ago, the famous social scientist W.E.B. Du Bois asserted that a true understanding of African American offending must be grounded in the "real conditions" of what it means to be black living in a racial stratified society. Today and according to official statistics, African American men - about six percent of the population of the United States - account for nearly sixty percent of the robbery arrests in the United States. To the authors of this book, this and many other glaring racial disparities in offending centered on African Americans is clearly related to their unique history and to their past and present racial subordination. Inexplicably, however, no criminological theory exists that fully articulates the nuances of the African American experience and how they relate to their offending. In readable fashion for undergraduate students, the general public, and criminologists alike, this book for the first time presents the foundations for the development of an African American theory of offending.
Building a Black Criminology Volume 24 by James D. Unnever; Shaun L. Gabbidon; Cecilia Chouhy
Call Number: HV6197.U5 B85 2019
Publication Date: 2018-11-06
In light of the Black Lives Matter movement and protests in many cities, race plays an ever more salient role in crime and justice. Within theoretical criminology, however, race has oddly remained on the periphery. It is often introduced as a control variable in tests of theories and is rarely incorporated as a central construct in mainstream paradigms (e.g., control, social learning, and strain theories). When race is discussed, the standard approach is to embrace the racial invariance thesis, which argues that any racial differences in crime are due to African Americans being exposed to the same criminogenic risk factors as are Whites, just more of them. An alternative perspective has emerged that seeks to identify the unique, racially specific conditions that only Blacks experience. Within the United States, these conditions are rooted in the historical racial oppression experienced by African Americans, whose contemporary legacy includes concentrated disadvantage in segregated communities, racial socialization by parents, experiences with and perceptions of racial discrimination, and disproportionate involvement in and unjust treatment by the criminal justice system. Importantly, racial invariance and race specificity are not mutually exclusive perspectives. Evidence exists that Blacks and Whites commit crimes for both the same reasons (invariance) and for different reasons (race-specific). A full understanding of race and crime thus must involve demarcating both the general and specific causes of crime, the latter embedded in what it means to be "Black" in the United States. This volume seeks to explore these theoretical issues in a depth and breadth that is not common under one cover. Again, given the salience of race and crime, this volume should be of interest to a wide range of criminologists and have the potential to be used in graduate seminars and upper-level undergraduate courses.
Race and Crime by Shaun L. Gabbidon; Helen Taylor Greene
Call Number: HV6789 .G32 2009
Publication Date: 2008-11-21
An analysis of the issues of race and crime in both a historical and contemporary context, Race and Crime examines the history of how racial and ethnic groups intersect with the U.S. criminal justice system, and investigates key contemporary issues relevant to understanding the current state of race/ethnicity and crime in the United States.
The War on Cops by Heather Mac Donald
Call Number: HV8139 .M34 2016
Publication Date: 2016-06-21
Mac Donald offers a dissent to the claims of the Black Lives Matter movement. This book expands on Mac Donald's controversial reporting on the so-called "Ferguson effect" and the criminal-justice system, and claims that current policing and incarceration practices are necessary and appropriate for maintaining public safety.