An impressively synoptic introduction to a socio-economically significant problem.

THE COSTLY U.S. PRISON SYSTEM

TOO COSTLY IN DOLLARS, NATIONAL PRESTIGE, AND LIVES

An analytical critique of the American prison system coupled with practical strategies to reduce incarceration rates.

The United States has more than 2 million prisoners, proportionately six times that of Europe. The financial costs of keeping so many behind bars are onerously high—$60 billion to $70 billion annually—and also impose steep costs on African-American and Latino communities, which are affected by the long-term absences of fathers, husbands, and providers. To make matters worse, Brakke (Fixing the U.S. Criminal Justice System, 2017, etc.) contends, such high incarceration rates don’t necessarily translate into fewer violent crimes, which occur at higher rates here than in Europe. The author begins his exploration of the problem by supplying a concise history of its origins: a nationwide uptick in crime in the 1960s and its sensationalist coverage by the media inspired politicians to hyperbolically demonstrate their toughness on crime. Even after violent crime diminished in the ’90s, the strong attitude of “public punitiveness” never fully abated. Brakke compares the prison system of the United States to several international alternatives as he looks into possible ways to reduce incarceration and recidivism. He also looks at places within the United States that have achieved some degree of success in these areas, such as New York City and the state of Oregon. The book provides a surfeit of practical solutions, including shifting the correctional emphasis from punishment to rehabilitation, curbing prosecutors’ zeal by converting their elected positions into appointments, and providing more job and literacy training to prisoners. Brakke covers much of this ground in his previous book on the criminal justice system, but the discussion of recidivism is much more extensive here, and the comparative study of prison systems is eye-opening. The author, who’s politically conservative, has a tendency to discuss liberals with too broad a partisan brush—a practice that belies the general empirical rigor of the book. Still, this is a remarkably comprehensive work given its brevity, argued with clarity and incisiveness.

An impressively synoptic introduction to a socio-economically significant problem.

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-947466-37-1

Page Count: 226

Publisher: American Leadership Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2018

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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