Controlling the Dangerous Classes: A History of Criminal Justice in America by Randall G. Shelden, Pavel V. Vasiliev
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Controlling the Dangerous Classes
A History of Criminal Justice in America
Third Edition
Throughout history, the powerful have created laws, developed agencies to enforce those laws, and established institutions to punish lawbreakers. Maintaining the social order to their advantage resulted in the systematic repression of disadvantaged groups—the "dangerous classes." The third edition retains a historical approach to exploring patterns of social control and, through current examples, demonstrates how those strategies continue today.

The authors trace the roots of race, class, and gender bias in how laws are written, interpreted, and applied. The management of dangerous classes is not a recent phenomenon; there is a long history of keeping those who derive the least advantage from the status quo (and therefore pose the greatest threat) under control. There was and is one system of justice for the privileged and a very different system for the less privileged. The criminal justice system—from the law to daily operations of the police, courts, and corrections—generally comes down hardest on those with the least amount of power and influence and is the most lenient with those with the most power and influence.

The book raises critical questions. What is a crime? What is law? Whose interests are served by the law and the criminal justice system? What patterns are repeated generation after generation? How does the criminal justice system relate to larger issues such as social inequality, social class, race, and gender? Contemplation of these topics contributes to informed public dialogue and careful deliberation about the present state and the future of criminal justice.
"Very sophisticated treatment of the Criminal Justice System from a critical perspective." — Roger Guy, SUNY Oswego

"The book is wonderful! The Third Edition represents great updates." — Annette Kuhlmann, University of Wisconsin, Baraboo

"This is a vital text for criminal justice. The revisions in the new edition strengthen an already outstanding book. It should be required in all criminology and criminal justice curricula." — Gary Potter, Eastern Kentucky University
Table of Contents
Introduction: The History of Criminal Justice from a Critical Perspective
A Critical Historiography / Perspectives on Criminal Law / The "Dangerous Classes" / Outline of the Book

1. Perpetuating the Class System: The Development of Criminal Law
Criminal Law in Ancient Times / Criminal Law in Medieval Times / Emergence of Criminal Law in England / Criminal Law as an Ideological System of Control / Emergence of the Concept of Crime / Emergence of Criminal Law in the United States / Controlling the Dangerous Classes through Drug Laws / Whose Interest Does the Law Serve?

2. The Development of the Police Institution: Controlling the Dangerous Classes
Early Police Systems / The Emergence of the Police Institution in England / The Development of the Police Institution in the United States / The Growth of the Police Institution in the Twentieth Century / Policing Strategies / Police Corruption: A Continuing Problem / Controlling the Dangerous Classes through the War on Drugs / Abuse of Power / The Militarization of Policing

3. Processing the Dangerous Classes: The American Court System
Introduction / The Development of the Modern Court System: The Colonial System / After the Revolution / The Right to Counsel / Traditional versus Radical-Criminal Trials / The Modern Era: The War on Drugs / The Ultimate Sanction: The Death Penalty

4. Housing the Dangerous Classes: The Emergence and Growth of the Prison System
Imprisonment as Punishment / The Trafficking of Offenders / Early Capitalism and the Emergence of the Workhouse / Late Eighteenth Century Reforms and the Birth of the Prison System / The Development of the American Prison System / Prison Reform during the Progressive Era / The Big House / The Emergence of the Federal Prison System and "Correctionalists" / The Modern Era, 1980 to the Present

5. Controlling the Young: The Development of the Juvenile Justice System
The Invention of Childhood / Children in the Colonies / The House of Refuge Movement / Mid-Nineteenth Century Reforms / Late-Nineteenth Century Reforms / The Child-Saving Movement / Science in Service of Solutions / Twentieth-Century Developments in Juvenile Justice / Juvenile Justice in the Twenty-First Century

6. Perpetuating Patriarchy: Keeping Women in Their Place
Women and the Law / A History of Women's Prisons / Girls and the Juvenile Justice System / Women and Criminal Justice Today

7. Crime Control: Profiting from Controlling the Dangerous Classes
Formal versus Informal Social Control / The Crime Control Industry / The Prison-Industrial Complex / Rural Prisons: Uplifting Rural Economies? / Prison Labor: Auburn Plan Revisited / The Privatization of Prisons: More Profits for Private Industry

8. Where Do We Go from Here?
Governing through Crime / The Importance of the Economy / The Growth and Perpetuation of the Dangerous Classes / We Need Big Changes / So What Can I Do, You Ask?