“Unequal under Law goes beyond conventional analyses of the War on Drugs and probes into the historical antecedents of current policy. The picture that emerges is one in which racial dynamics have always pervaded drug policy, from the criminalization of opium in the nineteenth century to Prohibition to the indefensible crack cocaine penalties of today. Only by understanding these basic functions can we assess the true implications of current drug policy and develop more constructive policy responses.”—Marc Mauer, executive director, The Sentencing Project
(Marc Mauer, executive director, The Sentencing Project)
“Unequal under Law is a masterful overview of the War on Drugs, drawing compelling historical continuity between different eras of U.S. policies toward ‘mind-altering substances’ and vulnerable populations. For future research and informed policy discussions in this area, Provine has set a new bar, and the bar is very high. This is an unusual combination of meticulous scholarship, analytic acumen, and ‘the big picture.’”
(Troy Duster, New York University)
“This book will help the forces for racial justice, for drug law reform, and more broadly for human rights in criminal justice and law. It should help rekindle the much-needed debate about the deeply racist consequences of current drug laws.”—Craig Reinarman, University of California, Santa Cruz
(Craig Reinarman, University of California, Santa Cruz)
"A very carefully constructed interdisciplinary argument about the war on drugs. . . . It is not the author's intent to declare the war on drugs a failure. What she shows is that the policy follows recent American history in its bias against disparate racial minorities."
"Although it is widely known that the United States has experienced a 'prison boom' with dramatically harsher effects on African Americans than whites, no one has analyzed the racialized sources and implications of these disparities so deeply, subtly, and persuasively as Marie Provin in this thoughtful study. . . . A very well-crafted policy analysis and an elegantly written teaching tool. Students and scholars at all levels are likely to find the book accessible and thought-provoking. It is a model of normatively-driven, theoretically-framed research."
(Charles R. Epp Law & Politics Book Review
"Provine uses a social constructionist theoretical framework to logically, systematically, and thoroughly examine the history of drug control policy in the United States. Her book adds significantly to the literature in that it provides an historical, social, and political context to fully undersand the current war on drugs, its impact particularly on African American communities, and the apparent reluctance of the government to critically address America's approach to drug use."
(Deidre M. Warren Criminal Justice Review
"Unequal under Law is elegantly written and stands as an exemplar of the best of law and society scholarship. It offers a nuanced and kaleidoscopic examination of the persistence of racism in America and exposes the roles and responsibnilites of the law in sustaining racism. In this way, Unequal under Law also works as a case study of the capacity of law to achieve progressive social change, with important insights into the social and political conditions which constrain legal results. . . . A fascinating study demonstrating the importance and complexity of racial divisions in the United States. It is also a plea for understanding such divisions in an institutional and psychologically informed manner."
(Castherine Dauvergne Journal of Politics
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