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    Expendable lives: race and segmented representation in the politics of crime and criminal justice in the United States

    Xenakis, Sappho and Cheliotis, L.K. (2022) Expendable lives: race and segmented representation in the politics of crime and criminal justice in the United States. Critical Criminology , ISSN 1205-8629.

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    One of the most enduring debates in the study of the evolution of criminal justice policy in the US concerns the role of public opinion. Two viewpoints have thus far dominated pertinent scholarship, the one claiming that criminal justice policy has been genuinely responsive to changes in public opinion, and the other suggesting instead that incumbent administrations have simulated responsiveness to public attitudes toward criminal justice which they strategically moulded themselves. Drawing in good part on political science literature that has as yet been little used within criminology, this article seeks to advance an alternative viewpoint. It is argued that, in the context of American criminal justice policy since the 1970s, political responsiveness to public opinion has been neither genuine nor so much simulated as it has been what political scientists describe as ‘segmented’; that is, geared toward specific subgroups whose views are privileged for electoral reasons. Our analysis singles out for scrutiny the crucial period between the mid-1980s and mid-1990s and the alignment of criminal justice policy-making during those years with preferences held and promoted by lobby groups with strong financial incentives at the expense of disadvantaged minorities. In so doing, we combine foci and insights that have typically been accorded discrete consideration in prior critical scholarship, which allows us to demonstrate the aggregate effect that different lobbying activities can have on criminal justice, whether directly and by design or indirectly and by default.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Political Economy and Institutional Studies, Birkbeck Centre for
    Depositing User: Sappho Xenakis
    Date Deposited: 10 May 2022 14:30
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 18:15


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