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Search and Destroy: African-American Males in the Criminal Justice System [Paperback]

Jerome G. Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 28, 1997 0521598583 978-0521598583
The war on drugs, begun in the Reagan Administration and presently continuing unabated, has resulted in an explosion in the American prison population. Whether a desired effect of the war or not, this increase has been accounted for by a severely disproportionate number of African American males. Jerome Miller demonstrates in Search and Destroy that an African American male between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five has an inordinate likelihood of encountering the criminal justice system at some point during those years. In a wide-ranging survey of blacks and the justice system, Miller notes the presence of bias among police officers, probation officers, courts, and even social scientists whose data form the basis for many policies and social workers whose responsibility is allegedly to members of the underclass.

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

There was much talk last fall about the grimmer-than-usual regular report from the Sentencing Project, which found that, at any given time, one in three black men in their 20s is in prison, on probation or on parole. How one reacted to those statistic was probably colored by both race and by previous encounters with the criminal justice system. With this tightly argued and methodologically sound volume, Miller, a criminal justice expert from the National Center on Institutions and Alternatives, will make readers think about some widespread social assumptions associating crime and African American men. Most black men who come in contact with the criminal justice system do so for relatively minor infractions; and even when charges aren't pressed, many black men are saddled with undeserved records that can cause trouble in finding a job and with any future brushes with law enforcement. But the greatest change in the prosecution of black men in recent years has been the "war on drugs," which has brought about not only tougher sentences on users of crack cocaine but also alarming arrest rates. Several areas around the country show similar statistics: 90% of those arrested on drug charges are black in areas where African Americans make up only 11%-12% of the population. The percentage of new inmates being incarcerated on drug charges has surpassed those sent to prison for violent offenses. Some may find Miller's discussion of the genetic presupposition of criminality suggested by Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein's The Bell Curve a little tangential, but it does address underlying biases that have tangible influence on policy. All in all, this serves as one of the most important and clear-eyed challenges to date to the linking of crime and race and to the entire conservative anti-welfare, hard-on-crime agenda.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

The title of this volume is a military term that means "find the enemy and eliminate it." This is exactly what Miller, cofounder of the National Center on Institutions and Alternatives, says the American justice system is doing to African American males. Drawing on statistics and examples from the criminal justice system, Miller concludes that crimes committed by black men are treated by the courts with unnecessary severity. He also points out racial bias in the war on drugs and in public housing, as well as the consequences of the "bell curve" and other genetic research. Voluminous notes and references back up his statements. His book should be valuable reading for social workers and criminal justice students as well as general readers. Recommended for all libraries.?Frances O. Sandiford, Green Haven Correction Facility Lib., Stormville, N.Y.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (June 28, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521598583
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521598583
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,218,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Readable and Very Scholarly June 18, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The author carefully and provocatively attempts to answer the most important questions facing criminologists and policy makers today.
G. David Curry, Professor, Criminology & Criminal Justice, University of Missouri-St. Louis
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12 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keepin' the Black man down. February 4, 1999
By A Customer
If you want to see how the pigs keep the Black man down, read this book
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