Race, Incarceration, and American Values (Boston Review Books)
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From Publishers Weekly
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- Publisher : The MIT Press (August 22, 2008)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 96 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0262123118
- ISBN-13 : 978-0262123112
- Reading age : 18 years and up
- Item Weight : 5.6 ounces
- Dimensions : 4.5 x 0.5 x 7 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #970,362 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Race, incarceration, and how they interact with American social policy is unequivocally a nuanced discussion, which is why I was surprised at the incredibly short length of the book. Comprised of several essays by differing authors, the book attempts to make the case for a modern application of Rawlsian ethics in America with the explicit premise that the legacy of slavery continues to have a disproportionate impact on African-Americans.
My two chief criticisms are firstly that this thesis promoting redistributive justice, or equality of outcome over equality of opportunity, is not something we need to decipher a priori; rather this is an empirical claim that requires supporting evidence, none of which was provided. Secondarily, the book holds firmly to descriptive "analysis" without providing detailed, prescriptive solutions, which probably speaks to why the book is so short.
In summation, there are many better options to learn about race in America in a more rigorous, parsimonious manner. Do not waste your money.
Yet the book is a bit anachroniostic and American society of the new millennium has changed a lot from those of the previous eras. The election of am African-American to the highest post speaks volume of the resilience and ethical consciousness of the American society and the conditions depicted by Lory would further change during Obama's presidency.
The book is very useful and is a must read.
Author of 'Tracing the Eagle's Orbit: Illuminating Insights into Major US Foreign Policies Since Independence.'
I found Loury's suggestions on reforming the injustices of the penal system to be very insightful, calling for a change in social consciousness and ethics in order to improve and defend the rights of those convicted of crimes. Loury points out that black men who are incarcerated experience a 10 percent drop in hourly wages after they are released from prison, and many are unable to retain voting rights long after they fulfill their sentences for even more minor offences. While they are incarcerated, their families and communities suffer, evidenced in part by studies that show urban communities with high incarceration rates in a given year experienced higher crime rates the following year.
Loury's piece is followed by three shorter pieces by Karlan, Wacquant, and Shelby--all renowned researchers and professors--who offer additional commentary and information specific to their fields. Their essays supplement Loury's discussion in a productive and illuminating manner.
This is an important book for anyone who cares remotely about the integrity and efficacy of the American judicial system.