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Crime Control as Industry by Nils Christie

Crime Control as Industry (edition 2000)

by Nils Christie

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Title:Crime Control as Industry
Authors:Nils Christie
Info:Routledge (2000), Edition: 3, Paperback, 216 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:NON-CIRCULATING, from Hackley Public Library

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Crime Control as Industry by Nils Christie


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The heavily revised third edition (2000) of Crime Control As Industry: Towards Gulags, Western Style is an essential guide to understanding the incarceration boom and considering how we can turn it around. The first book of Norwegian criminologist Nils Christie, Limits to Pain, argued that the criminal justice system is in fact a pain delivery system, with the size of the system controlled not by the number of committed acts labeled as crimes but by the amount of pain that a society is willing to impose on its citizens. Crime Control as Industry expands upon that theme, and tracks how an industry has arisen to manage crime. And like any industry, the crime control industry is not about to say on its own: “Stop, we have enough of the market. We don’t need to grow.”
First Christie argues that the applicable political economy to describe prisons is not slavery, but of the old work-houses, where the objective was not profit for the State, but for private parties to relieve the State of its unwanted population at the lowest cost possible.

The second sharp observation is that justice itself has been mechanized to cope with the influx of raw materials and remove a democratic restraint upon growth. Mandatory minimums and the sentencing guidelines have served to remove discretion from judges, turning them into little more than secretaries for the legislature.
In the United States, the combined populations in prison, on parole and on probation exceed the incarceration rate of the old gulags. Christie’s excellent book asks: Do we want a societal culture with this much depersonalized pain delivery?
...a "plea for reflection on limits" on the growth of the crime control industry as a system of formal social control (p. 13).... [Christie's] main premise is that Western societies can expect to see an increase in crime due to unequal distribution of wealth and lack of access to paid work. Those who "otherwise might have disturbed the social process" (p. 11) provide the "raw material" that will supply the crime control industry. The supply of raw material is endless because it is affected by changing social definitions of crime and punishment. Moreover, the industry conveniently creates jobs and produces control that encourages its own growth. "The potentially dangerous population is taken away and placed under complete control as raw material for parts of the very same industrial complex which made them superfluous and idle outside the walls. Raw material for control, if you like, captive consumers of the services of the control industry" (p. 116). The critical issue for Christie is the need for a serious moral discussion concerning "how large the system of formal control can be allowed to grow" (p.13).
Nils Christie, an eminent Norwegian criminologist and author of Crime Control as Industry has found US prisons so repellent that after opening his analysis with the apologetic phrase: `Whom one loveth, one chasteneth', he goes on to draw an analogy with Nazi Germany.
added by davidgn | editNew York Review of Books, David J. Rothman (pay site) (Feb 17, 1994)
Sociology Vol. 27, No. 3 (August 1993), pp. 555-556: "I regret I was not acquainted with Christie's finding at the time I wrote Modernity and the Holocaust. ... Engaging with Christie's argument is a must for any social scientist struggling to comprehend the present of our modern world. Even more so for all those wishing to do something about its future."
added by davidgn | editSociology, Zygmunt Bauman (pay site) (Aug 1, 1993)
Christie's style . . . is always readable and occasionally eloquent, and his content is always interesting and provocative.
added by davidgn | editTimes Higher Education Supplement
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0415234875, Paperback)

This classic text argues that crime control, rather than crime itself is the real danger for our future. Since the second edition was published in 1994, prison populations , especially in Russia and America, have grown at an increasingly rapid rate. This third edition is published to take account of these changes and draw attention to the scale of an escalating problem. It contains completely new chapters - one on 'penal geography', the other on 'the Russian case' - and has been extensively revised.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:58 -0400)

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