From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America

From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America

by Elizabeth Hinton

Narrated by Josh Bloomberg

Unabridged — 13 hours, 9 minutes

Elizabeth Hinton
From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America

From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America

by Elizabeth Hinton

Narrated by Josh Bloomberg

Unabridged — 13 hours, 9 minutes

Elizabeth Hinton

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Overview

In the United States today, one in every thirty-one adults is under some form of penal control, including one in eleven African American men. How did the "land of the free" become the home of the world's largest prison system? Challenging the belief that America's prison problem originated with the Reagan administration's War on Drugs, Elizabeth Hinton traces the rise of mass incarceration to an ironic source: the social welfare programs of Lyndon Johnson's Great Society at the height of the civil rights era.



Johnson's War on Poverty policies sought to foster equality and economic opportunity. But these initiatives were also rooted in widely shared assumptions about African Americans' role in urban disorder, which prompted Johnson to call for a simultaneous War on Crime. The 1965 Law Enforcement Assistance Act empowered the national government to take a direct role in militarizing local police. Federal anticrime funding soon incentivized social service providers to ally with police departments, courts, and prisons. Under Richard Nixon and his successors, welfare programs fell by the wayside while investment in policing and punishment expanded.


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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Imani Perry

From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime requires slow and careful reading for anyone seeking to grasp the full implications of this exceedingly well-researched work. While the introduction and the first chapter take a while to gain momentum, the remainder of the book is vivid with detail and sharp analysis. Stretching beyond the typical scope of an academic text, Hinton's book is more than an argument; it is a revelation.

From the Publisher

"The book is vivid with detail and sharp analysis. Stretching beyond the typical scope of an academic text, Hinton's book is more than an argument; it is a revelation." ---New York Times

From the Publisher - AUDIO COMMENTARY

"The book is vivid with detail and sharp analysis. Stretching beyond the typical scope of an academic text, Hinton's book is more than an argument; it is a revelation." —New York Times

Choice - E. Smith

With more than 7 million Americans incarcerated or on parole or probation, leading to scholarly analysis and journalistic accounts of mass incarceration, and another 43 million living below the established poverty guidelines, Hinton's book is timely indeed…The nuanced analysis moves the research in criminology and poverty to heights not reached by others. This readable text is a must read for anyone working in these fields of research.

History News Network - Tony Platt

Hinton demonstrates that from the beginning the Kennedy-Johnson War on Poverty was a battleground of ideas and policies between mostly grassroots struggles to extend the benefits of the New Deal to communities of color, and top-down efforts to construct the foundations of the urban carceral state…Hinton’s cautionary tale is a must read for activists.

Los Angeles Review of Books - Priyanka Kumar

Rich with details and synthesis that give the reader fresh insights into how the well-meaning policies of the Kennedy and Johnson eras went awry.

The Nation - James Forman Jr.

Hinton’s careful excavation of the bipartisan federal drivers of mass incarceration is a significant contribution to the scholarly literature…Hinton challenges the prevailing understanding of mass incarceration’s roots…Hinton has written a work of history, but most readers will see its contemporary implications as clearly as she does. Having shown how federal policy helped drive up the number of people incarcerated by or under the supervision of the criminal-justice system, she enables us to imagine how it might help bring the numbers down.

Truthout - James Kilgore

Hinton’s book constitutes the most comprehensive analysis of the historical roots of mass incarceration to date. Those wanting to deepen the understanding of this history that they may have gained from The New Jim Crow, the Golden Gulag and The First Civil Right would do well to seriously engage this wonderful work.

National Review - Lauren-Brooke Eisen

Hinton’s well-researched book is filled with historical anecdotes painting a colorful picture of the nation’s persistent struggle with crime since President Johnson coined the phrase ‘War on Crime’ more than fifty years ago…From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime is smart, engaging, and well-argued.

New Yorker - Jill Lepore

An extraordinary and important new book.

New York Times Book Review - Imani Perry

From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime requires slow and careful reading for anyone seeking to grasp the full implications of this exceedingly well-researched work…The book is vivid with detail and sharp analysis…Hinton’s book is more than an argument; it is a revelation…There are moments that will make your skin crawl…This is history, but the implications for today are striking. Readers will learn how the militarization of the police that we’ve witnessed in Ferguson and elsewhere had roots in the 1960s…A reader cannot help reckoning with the truth that the problem of police brutality and mass incarceration won’t be remedied with technology and training. Those of us who believe in the principles of democracy and justice would do well to witness, as detailed in Hinton’s pages, the shameful theft of liberty in this so-called land of the free.

Washington Post blog - Jeff Guo

At a moment when policing’s impact on African Americans and mass incarceration have again become topic of national conversation, Hinton’s book is significant for its reminder that both liberals and conservatives share the blame.

The Guardian - Steven W. Thrasher

Magisterial.

Brooklyn Magazine - Molly McArdle

A clear-eyed and timely book, it traces the country’s cannibalistic prison industrial complex back to the social welfare programs created by Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. This history is heartbreaking, but it is one that affects an enormous percentage of the country…Read it and vote—especially for the state legislators, judges, and district attorneys who exert the greatest influence over the system.

Jonathan Simon

A superb work that is a major and timely contribution to the history of mass incarceration. It powerfully resets and sharpens the debate among scholars on the interaction of federal and state dynamics in shaping the modern carceral state.

Matthew Lassiter

An outstanding book—clear, compelling, and essential. Hinton excavates the deep roots of police militarization, surveillance of minority communities, and the punitive shift in urban policy. Her argument that liberals were key architects of the war on crime is a necessary and even urgent corrective to conventional thinking about mass incarceration.

Library Journal

★ 07/01/2016
Hinton's (history & African and African American studies, Harvard) detailed, documented chronicle illuminates how America developed the world's largest prison system.

Kirkus Reviews

2016-03-14
A Harvard historian examines the origins of "the foremost civil rights issue of our time." Over the past two years, deadly confrontations between police and young African-Americans, the demonstrations and movements these incidents inspired, and subsequent commentaries by writers such as Ta-Nehisi Coates have forced the issues of aggressive police practices and mass incarceration to the forefront of our national consciousness. Now comes Hinton (History and African and African-American Studies/Harvard Univ.; co-editor: The New Black History: Revisiting the Second Reconstruction, 2011) to remind us that these problems were a long time in the making. As the author demonstrates, President Richard Nixon's war on crime, Ronald Reagan's war on drugs, and George W. Bush's war on terror played roles in ratcheting up the militarization of police forces and the surveillance of the inner city. All contributed mightily to the vastly disproportionate numbers of African-Americans and Latinos currently filling our prisons. But Hinton goes even further back to Lyndon Johnson's Great Society programs and the unfortunate yoking of anti-poverty legislation with anti-crime laws. This unprecedented infusion of the federal government's authority, muscle, and dollars into crime prevention—primarily through the aegis of the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration—distorted and eventually overwhelmed efforts to combat unemployment, address housing, and improve education. Academic readers will appreciate Hinton's archival deep dive into the various and successive congressional acts responsible, sometimes unwittingly, sometimes not, for what amounts in her terms to criminalizing poverty. She discusses the prevailing social science theories that informed those laws—James Q. Wilson and Daniel Patrick Moynihan take a beating—and frequently cites official reports and informal intergovernmental communications that expose the policymakers' thinking. General readers will be appalled at her portrayal of outrageous police practices, all fueled with LEAA money, that contributed to the agency's reputation as a "bureaucratic monster." Those whose politics differ from Hinton's will likely be inclined to quarrel with her diagnosis, but they'll be obliged to grapple with her fact-filled, scholarly argument.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940171296414
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Publication date: 12/06/2016
Edition description: Unabridged

Customer Reviews