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Law and Order: An Honest Citizen's Guide to Crime and Control

ISBN: 978-0-7456-2996-4
168 pages
September 2007, Polity
Law and Order: An Honest Citizen
Law and order has become a key issue throughout the world. Crime stories saturate the mass media and politicians shrilly compete with each other in a race to be the toughest on crime. Prisons are crammed to bursting point, and police powers and resources extended repeatedly. After decades of explosive increase in crime rates, these have plummeted throughout the Western world in the 1990s. Yet fear of crime and violence, and the security industries catering for these anxieties, grow relentlessly.

This book offers an up-to-date analysis of these contemporary trends by providing all honest and concerned citizens with a concise yet comprehensive survey of the sources of current problems and anxieties about crime. It shows that the dominant tough law and order approach to crime is based on fallacies about its nature, sources, and what works in terms of crime control. Instead it argues that the growth of crime has deep-seated causes, so that policing and penal policy at best can only temporarily hold a lid down on offending.

The book is intended to inform public debate about these vital issues through a critical deconstruction of prevailing orthodoxy. With its focus on current policies, problems and debates this book is also an excellent introduction to criminology for the growing numbers of students of the subject at all levels.

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1. Introduction: Neo-Liberalism, Crime, and Control.

2. An Inspector Calls: Putting Crime in its Place.

3. A Mephistophelean Calculus: Measuring Crime Trends.

4. Permissiveness v. Political Economy: Explaining Crime Trends.

5. A New Leviathan?: Law and Order Politics and Tough Crime Control.

6. Conclusion: Law and Order – A 2020 Vision.

References

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Robert Reiner is Professor of Criminology at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
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  • a new book in the Themes for the 21st Century series by Robert Reiner, one of the world’s leading authorities on issues of law and order
  • offers up to date analysis of contemporary trends in crime and violence and the attempts to control these in the Western world
  • written with the honest and concerned citizen in mind Reiner provides a concise yet comprehensive survey of the sources of current problems and anxieties about crime
  • Puts forward a provocative argument that the growth of crime has deep-seated causes, so that policing and penal policy are only a temporary means of control
  • an excellent introduction to criminology for the growing numbers of students of the subject at all levels
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"A brilliantly clear analysis of the causes of crime and the effects of current crime control policies."
Tribune

"A fascinating and engaging review of the contemporary politics of law and order and a sustained critique of neo-liberalism."
Criminology and Criminal Justice

"In this strong and deeply felt book, Robert Reiner makes the case that both rising crime and the increasingly punitive response to it in many countries are reflections of the larger thrust toward neoliberal economic and social policies around the world. It's a convincing argument, and though Reiner's examples are drawn mainly from the British experience, it is an argument that is very relevant for other countries as well."
New Criminal Law Review

"Reiner reviews a very large body of criminological literature, and his detailed arguments, along with the bibliography he offers, constitute an important source for students and researchers. "
Times Higher Education Supplement

"An unusual but insightful book from an author who's been around long enough to critically comment with authority on the recent evolution of modern crime and crime control."
Surveillance and Society

"An illuminating discussion ... some new thinking is desperately needed, and this book is a good place to start."
Times Literary Supplement

"Reiner is an able guide, and concisely navigates theory, policy, empirical research findings, official records and media reporting to deliver a tightly argued thesis."
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology

"Citizens wanting to separate fact from fiction on the subject of crime control now have the reliable guide that they so badly need. Robert Reiner is Britain's most informed and insightful commentator on law and order and this fact-packed book presents his critical wisdom in prose that is concise, direct, and always entertaining."
David Garland, New York University

"This is a timely, well-organized and coherent treatment of an important topic. It is characterized throughout by the author's trademark ability to distill a large of amount of factual material and criminological theory and research into a lively, thought-provoking and accessible narrative."
Ian Loader, University of Oxford

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Law and Order: An Honest Citizen's Guide to Crime and Control (US $49.95)

-and- Politics and Morality (US $19.95)

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