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The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison: Ideology, Class, and Criminal Justice
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The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison: Ideology, Class, and Criminal Justice

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  165 ratings  ·  18 reviews
A textbook for a course in criminal justice, updated often since 1979 to incorporate the ever burgeoning examples of legal injustice in the US. An associated website is now available where students, teachers, and others can discuss ways to improve the situation. Annotation (c) Book News, Inc., Portl
Paperback, 232 pages
Published July 9th 2003 by Allyn & Bacon (first published April 18th 1979)
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C. Scott
It was a real struggle to finish this book, but I'm very glad I did. The argument that the author makes is persuasive and, I believe, completely true. One thing that made me laugh: I was reading a previously owned copy, obviously it was a student's who was reading it for a class. Anyway, this person made a lot of very critical little commentary notes in the margins throughout the book - he or she obviously did not agree with the author's harsher points about the US legal system. It was funny bec ...more
An examination of the American Criminal Justice System, which argues that the system fails us on three counts (failing to institute laws that could actually reduce crime, failure to criminalize the acts of corporate America, and failure to remove racial profiling and the stigma of being poor as criminal). These failures result in a perpetual abundance of criminals and a system in which the rich get richer and the poor get prison.
This book examines the American Criminal Justice System from a philosophical and direct approach. The argument is that the system is designed to be a "pyrrhic defeat," meaning that the criminal justice system fails so much that it is a victory for those who are rich and hold power in this country.
The system is set up for people to think that poor minorities are the ones we should fear and that they cause the most harm.
What Reiman points out is that corporate crime, unsafe work conditions and en
(7/10) The American prison system is one of those things that we're going to (hopefully) look back on in a generation or two and be gobsmacked that anyone could find acceptable. The litany of abuses, from extended solitary confinement to the ubiquity of rape, is too extensive and too depressing to relate in this review, but this is a good source. Jeffrey Reiman was one of the first to call attention to this problem, and over the years has continued to highlight a frequently-ignored humanitarian ...more
Well, it turns out I'm not a big fan of criminology, but I did actually enjoy reading this "textbook"...until I got to the last chapter. The thing I really like about this book is that all of the explanations are very clear, and the authors use plenty of examples that were interesting enough to keep me reading. However, the last chapter is completely rhetoric-based and loses touch with the examples, and I don't think it was half as effective as the rest of the book. I would've liked to see the c ...more
A law professor asks his students to design a justice system that, instead of reducing crime, would increase and maintain it, as well as keep prisons full and ensure that crime is committed mostly by the working class. And surprise! His students design the American Justice System. Reiman uses this as a launching point to critique punitive justice and, in the process, provides one of the best arguments I've ever heard for legalizing drugs. It's a must-read for anyone who loves justice, fancy Marx ...more
pseudo-Marxist account of US prison system. contains basic arguments such as individual murder case can result in a death penalty, but the intentional failure to provide a safe working environment in a factory, because safe work space is too expensive, and employer would rather pay the civil fines for safety violations and take its chances litigating wrongful death claims than pay for safe factories--author regards deaths that inevitably result as murders. good times!
Steven Coolbaugh
Jul 22, 2007 Steven Coolbaugh rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone, Especially Politicians
This book reinforced the idea that our criminal justice system solves nothing; not true; it displaces class antagonism from the bourgeoisie to the "criminal class". This may not be intentional, but as a side effect of the system, the masses of our nation are more afraid of a percieved threat from below, then from the real threat of exploitation from above.
Oct 21, 2008 Jenni rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Criminal Justice students
Recommended to Jenni by: Boise State University teacher
Author has some good points, but for the most part the reading is dull. Talks a lot about poor people committing crime because of society. Had to read this for school - not something I would choose to read for fun.
Jesse Summers
I think I read the 6th edition of this, years ago. It was amazing. It's a decidedly liberal take on the justice system, but, as Stephen Colbert says, "reality has a well-known liberal bias."
I had to read this book for one of my criminal justice classes and I have never forgotten it. Very well written and thought provoking.
This is a book I read in college in 1979. Nothing has changed. I feel that it will not through the next generation either.
Cindi Ford
Oct 15, 2007 Cindi Ford rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
This is a great book about our deception about crime and who really perpetrates the most harmful crimes in this country.
Aug 21, 2007 Jamie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in social justice issues
An engaging look into America's economic and social policies that perpetuate a vicious cycle of poverty, violence and crime.
Carrie Nilles
criminology,grad school,criminal justice,social classes,social policy,ideology,non-fiction
Alexa Parker
Book I read for school. Wordy and one-sided. Wouldn't recommend.
Loved this Marxist look on crime and punishment.
Amazing so far!!!
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