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Smart on Crime Hardcover – October 7, 2009

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About the Author

Kamala D. Harris was a prosecutor in Oakland, California, before being elected as San Francisco's District Attorney in 2003 and re-elected in 2007.

Joan O'C. Hamilton is a Menlo Park, California-based writer and former Bay Area bureau chief for Business Week magazine.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 205 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; First edition (October 7, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811865282
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811865289
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #223,839 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M. Dunkerley on October 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Well written and engaging, this book opens a door into big city crime and how to address it. A must-read for any would-be prosecutor and urban resident, in particular. It dispels myths about the impact of crimes with a balanced eye on the one wronged, the perpetrator and law enforcement, and should make any California resident comfortable--and hopeful--about seeing Harris in higher office. Hamilton does an excellent job of capturing the prosecutor's perspective without letting this drift into hagiography.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Regis Schilken on October 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover
One ongoing theme that runs through Smart on Crime is this: meaningful education at all levels of life can affect crime statistics. This applies:

-- to both children and adults
-- to those who have committed crimes and are incarcerated
-- to those who have been released from prison
-- to those people who may consider criminal activity to help them survive

Smart on Crime wants parents, educators, and the law, to keep children in school. More than likely, truancy in neighborhoods where crime is rampant allows children to model what they see on the streets. It may be an act as simple as watching someone shoplift or a more serious offense like stealing a car that inspires a truant child to first steal a candy bar.

So often, truant children learn that crime does pay. Those kids who come from poverty stricken families where drugs have become a way of life, often become runners for druggies to earn money. They easily end up hooked on drugs compounding their problems. Why attend school if a miserable home life can be remedied by "taking" what you want and lifting your spirits with drugs.

As an educator, myself, I can understand Smart on Crime's wish to keep kids in school where they learn skills needed for a promising life based on their talents. But fufilling that desire is not easy.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Emily S on November 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Truancy...who'd have thought? I read the whole book but one of the things that I was most struck by was how we've always thought of truancy as a minor problem; no big deal. But here's someone who understands how addressing this `minor' problem yields big results in fighting crime.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By D. Osborn on November 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This author starts from the genius principal that safety is a fundamental civil right. And as such, she examines how we can use concrete, finite metrics to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of the criminal justice system in ensuring this fundamental right. I'd say she's not just SMART on crime, she's BRILLIANT!
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on November 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
What I really like about this book is how it exposes and debunks the myths about crime that have shackled us to the failed status quo system. Everybody should read this book
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David Forthoffer on August 17, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
This book offers a variety of promising approaches to reducing non-violent crime by private citizens.

My two complaints are that it (1) completely ignores the rampant non-violent crime by PUBLIC officers, such as prosecutors and police officers, and it (2) equates "accused" with "offender" or "criminal."

If you want an inkling of the hidden problem of prosecutors and police officers who break the law, CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER offers very credible information.

Kamala Harris makes a number of assumption that are debunked by Alex Kozinski, Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. You can read his article at http://georgetownlawjournal.org/files/2015/06/Kozinski_Preface.pdf

Personally, I think that prosecutors and police officers who fabricate evidence that puts innocent citizens in prison should themselves go to prison, for years.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jane Hickie on October 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book, so clearly and well written, describes a comprehensive and sensible approach for actually reducing crime. Kamala Harris is a non nonsense prosecutor who has thought about how to address the actual causes of crime, as well as appropriate punishments. Everyone who is concerned about the safety of our neighborhoods, now and in the future, needs to read this book and ask our friends in law enforcement and the judiciary to carefully consider her proposals for reform of the criminal justice system.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover
She really explains how we're just recycling criminals. When are conservatives going to wake up and realize that throwing people in jail for nonviolent crimes is actually making our communities LESS safe rather than more safe?
Instead, we need to help them get "Back on Track".
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