Making of Criminal Justice Policy in the United States. Essays on the Role of the President, the Congress, and the Public

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This work analyzes the interplay between the American political system and criminal justice policy, providing a comprehensive examination of the vital role politics plays in defining key elements of the criminal justice system.


“In this text, Oliver and Marion have taken a significant step toward enlightening scholars and students of criminal justice about the nexus between politics and crime policies. By compiling a collection of previously published articles that analyze the criminal justice policy-making process in the United States, the authors shed light on what occurs within the “black box” of criminal justice policymaking and how it affects U.S. criminal laws and policies.” – Prof. Barbara Ann Stolz, Washington, D.C.

“The collection is anchored by a blow-by-blow account f federal crime legislation dating back to the 1960—thus providing students with the necessary grounding to understand what has transpired and to prepare them for the explanations provided by political science for this transfer of power from state, county, and local governments to the Feds.” – Prof. Stuart Scheingold, University of Washington

“Up to now, the limited body of scholarship [on the politics of crime control] has remained scattered, buried deeply in academic journals and cited only infrequently in mainstream criminology, legal or policy studies publications.” - Prof. James D. Calder, University of Texas at San Antonio

Table of Contents

Part I—Federal Crime Control Policy
Reflections on the Nationalization of Crime, 1964-1968 - Gerald Caplan
Politics, Public Policy, and Street Crime - Stuart A. Scheingold
The Federal Role in Dealing with Violent Street Crime: Principles, Questions, and Cautions - Philip B. Heymann and Mark H. Moore
Part II—Presidents and Campaigns
Crime as a National Political Issue: 1964-76 From Law and Order to Domestic Tranquility - James O. Finckenauer
Crime Control in the 2000 Presidential Election: A Symbolic Issue - Nancy Marion and Rick Farmer
A Preliminary Examination of Presidential Anti-Crime Promises Nancy Marion and Rick Farmer
Part III—Presidents
Presidents and Crime Control: Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon and the Infl uences of Ideology - James D. Calder
Liberty, Restraint, and Criminal Justice: Gerald Ford’s Presidential Concerns - George T. Felkenes
Part IV—Presidential Power
Presidential Agenda Setting in Crime Control - Nancy Marion
Symbolic Policies in Clinton’s Crime Control Agenda - Nancy E. Marion
Presidential Rhetoric on Crime and Public Opinion - Willard M. Oliver
The Role of Presidential Rhetoric in the Creation of a Moral Panic: Reagan, Bush, and the War on Drugs - James E. Hawdon
The Pied Piper of Crime in America: An Analysis of the Presidents’ and Public’s Agenda on Crime - Willard M. Oliver
Executive Orders: Symbolic Politics, Criminal Justice Policy, and the American Presidency - Willard M. Oliver
Part V—Congress
Congress, Symbolic Politics and the Evolution of 1994 “Violence against Women Act” - Barbara Ann Stolz
Congress and Capital Punishment An Exercise in Symbolic Politics - Barbara Ann Stolz
Congress and the War on Drugs: An Exercise in Symbolic Politics - Barbara Ann Stolz
Part VI—Presidents and Congress
The Power to Persuade: Presidential Influence over Congress on Crime Control Policy - Willard M. Oliver
Following the Leader? Presidential Influence over Congress in the Passage of Federal Crime Control Policy - Willard M. Oliver and David E. Barlow
Budgets, Institutions, and Change: Criminal Justice Policy in America - Greg A. Caldeira and Andrew T. Cowart
“Budgets, Institutions, and Change: Criminal Justice Policy in America”Revisited- Willard M. Oliver and Nancy E. Marion

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