From: The Law and Politics Book Review,
Vol. 14 No. 11 (November 2004)
As a service to subscribers, the REVIEW provides this brief summary of the contents of recent reference works, anthologies of previously published materials, textbooks and collected readings designed for students, casebooks designed for undergraduate and law school use, later editions of books previously reviewed in this journal, and other specialized publications. Unless noted, the comments are taken from the book’s jacket cover or the publisher’s webpage.
REASON IN LAW (7TH ed), by Lief H. Carter and Thomas F. Burke. New York: Pearson Longman, 2005. 192pp. Paper. $47.60. ISBN: 0-321-20229-5.
Completely updated, this engaging and lively text examines the relationship between law and politics and emphasizes the political importance of sound legal reasoning. Reason in Law examines the intersection of law and politics: legal reasoning. It teaches students how to examine judicial decisions, encouraging them to become “thoughtful judges of judging.” Using cases ripped from the headlines–such as the Alabama federal courthouse “Ten Commandments” case, Ashcroft v. Oregon, and Lawrence v. Texas–authors Carter and Burke teach through illustrative examples and have assembled a gallery of fascinating cases to engage student interest. Ultimately, the text attempts to answer the question: “How can a pluralistic society be ruled legitimately?” If people of differing political allegiances can interpret the same legal text quite differently, how can the rule of law be properly applied?
THE AMERICAN SUPREME COURT (4th ed), by Robert G. McCloskey. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004. 344pp. Paper. $16.00. ISBN 0-226-55682-4; Cloth. $40.00. ISBN: 0-226-55681-6.
published more than forty years ago, Robert G. McCloskey’s classic work on the
Supreme Court’s role in constructing the U.S. Constitution has introduced
generations of students to the workings of our nation’s highest court. In this
fourth edition, Sanford Levinson extends McCloskey’s magisterial treatment to
address the Court’s most recent decisions, including its controversial ruling
in BUSH v. GORE and its expansion of sexual
privacy in LAWRENCE v. TEXAS. The book’s chronology of
important Supreme Court decisions and itsannotated bibliographical essay have
also been updated.
As in previous editions, McCloskey’s original text remains unchanged. He argues that the Court’s strength has always been its sensitivity to the changing political scene, as well as its reluctance to stray too far from the main currents of public sentiment. Levinson’s two new chapters show how McCloskey’s approach continues to illuminate recent developments, such as the Court’s seeming return to its pre-1937 role as “umpire” of the federal system. It is in BUSH v. GORE, however, where the implications of McCloskey’s interpretation stand out most clearly.
The best and most concise account of the Supreme Court and its place in American politics, McCloskey’s wonderfully readable book is an essential guide to its past, present, and future prospects of this institution.
RESEARCHING CONSTITUTIONAL LAW, Third Edition, by Albert P. Melone. Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press, 2004. 305pp. Paper. $22.95. ISBN 1-57766-315-2; Instructor’s Manual (cdrom)
Knowledge of how to conduct research in constitutional law is valuable not only for legal professionals but for anyone interested in the political and legal systems of the United States. Melone introduces the process of legal research with clear, understandable writing aimed at the lay reader. This practical, convenient reference work guides students on every aspect of writing a quality research paper, from showing how to brief a legal case to explaining elementary quantitative analysis techniques. Also included are extensive lists of primary and secondary sources, summaries of leading Supreme Court decisions, and a sample student research design. Melone references the most up-to-date print and electronic legal research materials throughout the thoroughly revised Third Edition.
A PRIMER ON AMERICAN LABOR LAW, Fourth Edition, by William B. Gould, IV. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004. 432pp. Cloth. $75.00/£48.95. ISBN: 0-262-07250-5. Paper. $30.00/£19.95. ISBN: 0-262-57218-4
A Primer on American Labor Law is an accessible guide written for nonspecialists – labor and management representatives, students, general practice lawyers, and trade unionists, government officials, and academics from other countries. It covers such topics as the National Labor Relations Act, unfair labor practices, the collective bargaining relationship, dispute resolution, the public sector, and public-interest labor law. This thoroughly updated fourth edition contains extensive new material, covering developments in the eleven years since the third edition, including the continuing decline in union membership, job security rights, wrongful discharge litigation and dispute resolution procedures, ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) litigation, cases involving sexual harassment and sexual orientation, the most recent collective bargaining agreements in professional sports, and the debate – spurred by globalism – on international labor standards. Much of the discussion of the National Labor Relations Act discusses decisions and policy changes by the National Labor Relations Board during the author’s chairmanship in 1994-1998.
GATES OF INJUSTICE: THE CRISIS IN AMERICA’S PRISONS, by Alan Elsner. Indianapolis, IN: Prentice Hall, 2004. 288pp. Paper. $24.95. ISBN: 0131427911.
GATES OF INJUSTICE is a compelling exposé of the U.S. prison system: it tells how more than 2 million Americans came to be incarcerated … what it’s really like on the inside … and how a giant “prison-industrial complex” promotes imprisonment over other solutions. Alan Elsner paints a terrifying picture of how our prisons really work. You’ll hear how race-based gangs control institutions and prey on the weak—and how a rape epidemic has swept the U.S. prison system. You’ll discover the plight of 300,000 mentally ill prisoners, many abandoned to suffer with grossly inadequate medical care. Elsner takes you inside “supermax” prisons that deny inmates human contact and reveals official corruption and brutality within U.S. jails. You’ll also learn how prisons help to spread infectious diseases throughout society … one of the ways the prison crisis touches you, even if you’ve never had a brush with the law.
THE DYNAMICS OF “REAL FEDERALISM”: LAW, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, AND INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES IN RUSSIA AND CANADA, by Peter H. Solomon, Jr. (ed). Monograph. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2004. 162pp. Paper. US$12 / CDN$16.50. ISBN: 0969772394.
Based on a conference held in September 2003. Includes: “Introduction,”
by Peter H. Solomon, Jr.; “Broad Strokes: A Thematic Overview of the
Novosibirsk Workshop,” by Alexei Trochev; “Adjudication and Enforcement of Laws
in a Federal System,” by Peter Russell; “The New Russian Federalism,” by
Vladimir Leksin; “Federalism and Russia’s Economic Development,” by Leonid
Polishchuk; “Federalism and Regional Policy in Russia: Problems of
Socio-Economic Development of Resource Territories and Subsoil Use,” by Valerii
Kriukov, Viacheslav Seliverstov, and Anatolii Tokarev; “Improving Federal
Legislation on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of the Russian North,” by
Mikhail Todyshev; and “Indigenous Peoples of the North in the Federal Systems
of Russia and Canada,” by Peter Russell. _______________________________________________________________________
DRUG WAR CRIMES: THE CONSEQUENCES OF PROHIBITION, by Jeffrey A. Miron. Oakland, CA: The Independent Institute, 2004. 107pp. Paper. $15.95. ISBN: 0-945999-90-9.
Many people believe that the huge cost of drug prohibition is an acceptable price to pay for its purported benefits—reduced drug use and associated health problems, fewer traffic and industrial accidents, and less crime and poverty. According to economist Jeffrey A. Miron, however, most of the ills typically attributed to drug consumption are due not to drugs per se but to drug prohibition. In Drug War Crimes: The Consequences of Prohibition, Miron shows that prohibition increases violence, creates new health risks for drug users, enriches criminals, and diminishing our civil liberties. Prohibition, he forcefully argues, is a poor method of reducing drug use and an inappropriate goal for government policy.
CHANGING THE GUARD: PRIVATE PRISONS AND THE CONTROL OF CRIME, by Alexander Tabarrok (ed). Oakland, CA: The Independent Institute, 2003. 270pp. Paper. $19.95. ISBN: 0-945999-87-9.
Changing the Guard: Private Prisons and the Control of Crime, edited by Alexander Tabarrok (Research Director, The Independent Institute), examines a controversial aspect of prisons and crime control -- the growing use of private prisons. Virtually unheard of twenty years ago, private prisons are now a big business not only in the United States but increasingly in Canada, England, Australia, South Africa, and elsewhere. Although private prisons now house approximately 120,000 prisoners in the United States, the private sector is still small relative to the total prison population of some 2,000,000 prisoners. In the United States, private prisons have grown because of prison overcrowding and the desire of the states and Federal government to cut costs. Numerous studies now exist demonstrating that private prisons have operating costs approximately 15 percent lower than equivalent public prisons. In addition, private prisons can be located and built more quickly than public prisons.
Although there was initially a concern that cost-savings might come at the expense of quality, the data has not borne this out. Whether in terms of physical quality of the prison, legal access, food quality, and other measures, private prisons have been found to be as good as public prisons and sometimes better. Thus after surveying some 333 indicators of quality at two public and one similar private prison, noted prison-privatization expert Charles H. Logan (University of Connecticut) concluded that “the private prison outperformed its governmental counterparts on nearly every dimension.” Surveys of inmates also find a preference for private prisons because they tend to control violence, committed by staff and prisoners, better than at public prisons (p. 141).
ADULT CORRECTIONS: INTERNATIONAL SYSTEMS AND PERSPECTIVES, by John A. Winterdyk (ed). Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice Press, 2004. 370pp. Paper. ISBN: 1-881798-50-X.
Corrections is sometimes referred to as the “hidden system” because it generally receives less attention than other criminal justice agencies such as police, courts and juvenile justice. And despite being one of the oldest forms of formal social control, very few books present a comparative evaluation of diverse nations’ correctional systems. Yet corrections is not only an essential component of nations’ criminal justice systems, but it has in recent years undergone some significant changes that are deserving on comparative analysis. This anthology presents overviews of the corrections systems of Belgium (by S. Snacken et al.), Canada (J. Winterdyk), Finland (U. Mohell et al.), Germany (K. Bammann and J. Feest), India (T. Charkraborty and K. Okita), Iran (A-H Nadjafi A.), Japan (M. Yokoyama), Nambia (S. Schulz and J.W. Nyoka), Romania (M. Criste), and the U.S.A. (P.L. Rechel and J.R. Dammer). Corrections is sometimes referred to as the “hidden system” because it generally receives less attention than other criminal justice agencies such as police, courts and juvenile justice. And despite being one of the oldest forms of formal social control, very few books present a comparative evaluation of diverse nations’ correctional systems. Yet corrections is not only an essential component of nations’ criminal justice systems, but it has in recent years undergone some significant changes that are deserving on comparative analysis. This anthology presents overviews of the corrections systems of Belgium (by S. Snacken et al.), Canada (J. Winterdyk), Finland (U. Mohell et al.), Germany (K. Bammann and J. Feest), India (T. Charkraborty and K. Okita), Iran (A-H Nadjafi A.), Japan (M. Yokoyama), Nambia (S. Schulz and J.W. Nyoka), Romania (M. Criste), and the U.S.A. (P.L. Rechel and J.R. Dammer).
DOING PRISON WORK: THE PUBLIC AND PRIVATE LIVES OF PRISON OFFICERS, by Elaine Crawley. Devon, UK: Willan Publishing, 2004. 234pp. Hardback. £35.00 / US $55.00. ISBN: 1-84392-035-2.
This book provides a much needed sociological account of the social world of the English prison officer, making an original contribution to our understanding of the inner life of prisons in general and the working lives of prison officers in particular. As well as revealing how the job of the prison officer and of the prison itself is accomplished on a day to day basis, the book explores not only what prison officers do but also how they feel about their work.
In focusing on how prison officers feel about their work this book makes a number of interesting revelations about the essentially domestic nature of much of the work they do, about the degree of emotional labour invested in it and about the performance nature of many of the day-to-day interactions between officers and prisoners. Finally, the book follows the prison officer home after work, showing how the prison can spill over into their home lives and family relationships.
WHAT MATTERS IN PROBATION, by George Mair (ed.). Devon, UK: Willan Publishing, 2004. 272pp. Paper. £20.00 / US $34.95. ISBN: 1-84392-052-2.
The What Works initiative is having a profound impact on the work of the National Probation Service, and much has been invested in new accredited programmes both in terms of the numbers of offenders planned to complete these programmes and their anticipated impact upon offending. Yet there has been little scholarly or professional discussion of the nature and risks of the new paradigm: it is important that it is subjected to critical debate and scrutiny. This book aims to provide a critical overview of what works, providing a wider set of perspectives on a project which is vital for the future of the National Probation Service.
WHAT WORKS IN PROBATION AND YOUTH JUSTICE: DEVELOPING EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE, by Ros Burnett and Colin Roberts (eds.). Devon, UK: Willan Publishing, 2004. 272pp. Paper. £20.00 / US $34.95. ISBN: 1-84392-059-X.
Both probation and youth justice are at a critical point in their history, and are increasingly required to provide evidence of their effectiveness. Yet it is only relatively recently, following major reforms and reorganisation of these services, that systematic investigation into what works has been made integral to policy and practice. This book reviews developments in evidence-based practice within both probation and youth justice, bringing together the findings of research projects commissioned by the Home Office, the National Probation Directorate and the Youth Justice Board.
IMPRISONING AMERICA: THE SOCIAL EFFECTS OF MASS INCARCERATION, by Mary Pattillo, David Weiman, and Bruce Western (eds.). New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2004. 400pp. Hardback. $39.95. ISBN: 0-87154-652-3.
Over the last 30 years, the U.S. penal population increased from around 300,000 to more than two million, with more than half a million prisoners returning to their home communities each year. What are the social costs to the communities from which this vast incarcerated population comes? And what happens to these communities when former prisoners return as free men and women in need of social and economic support? In Imprisoning America, an interdisciplinary group of leading researchers in economics, criminal justice, psychology, sociology, and social work goes beyond a narrow focus on crime to examine the connections between incarceration and family formation, labor markets, political participation, and community well-being.
The book opens with a consideration of the impact of incarceration on families. Using a national survey of young parents, Bruce Western and colleagues show the enduring corrosive effects of incarceration on marriage and cohabitation, even after a prison sentence has been served. Kathryn Edin, Timothy Nelson, and Rechelle Parnal use in-depth life histories of low-income men in Philadelphia and Charleston, to study how incarceration not only damages but sometimes strengthens relations between fathers and their children. Imprisoning America then turns to how mass incarceration affects local communities and society at large. Christopher Uggen and Jeff Manza use survey data and interviews with 30 former felons to explore the political ramifications of disenfranchising inmates and former felons. Harry Holzer, Stephen Raphael, and Michael Stoll examine how poor labor market opportunities for former prisoners are shaped by employers’ (sometimes unreliable) background checks. Jeremy Travis concludes that corrections policy must extend beyond incarceration to help former prisoners reconnect with their families, communities, and the labor market. He recommends greater collaboration between prison officials and officials in child and family welfare services, educational and job training programs, and mental and public health agencies.
Imprisoning America vividly illustrates that the experience of incarceration itself—and not just the criminal involvement of inmates—negatively affects diverse aspects of social membership. By contributing to the social exclusion of an already marginalized population, mass incarceration may actually increase crime rates, and threaten the public safety it was designed to secure. A rigorous portrayal of the pitfalls of getting tough on crime, Imprisoning America highlights the pressing need for new policies to support ex-prisoners and the families and communities to which they return.
DIPLOMATIC LAW: COMMENTARY ON THE VIENNA CONVENTION ON DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS (2nd ed.), by Eileen Denza. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. 472pp. Hardback. £110.00 / $185.00. ISBN: 0198265824.
This book is a commentary on the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the universally-accepted framework for diplomacy between sovereign States. It is the second edition of a highly-respected work, first published in 1976, which was written with the benefit of the authors deep and practical understanding of the subject as a Legal Counsellor in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Denza’s book is widely-recognized as the leading work of authority in the field. In this enlarged, rewritten and fully-updated edition, she places each provision of the Convention in its historical context. The negotiating background to the provisions is supplemented with a comprehensive commentary on the application of the Convention by the United Kingdom and the United States of America, together with expanded coverage of the diplomatic practice and jurisprudence of other States. The book also includes a thorough examination of novel problems in the field and will be welcomed as an invaluable source of practical guidance for ministries of foreign affairs and diplomats in the field. It will be equally welcomed by practitioners and scholars of public international law as an indispensable source of reference and learning.
UNDERSTANDING SUPREME COURT OPINIONS (4th ed), by T.R. van Geel. New York: Pearson Longman, 2005. 176pp. Paper. $41.20. ISBN: 0-321-15969-1.
Going beyond the reading and interpretation of Supreme Court opinions, this practical text addresses the legal reasoning and focuses on the modes of persuasion and justification used by the Supreme Court. This nuts-and-bolts primer examines and teaches students to use the same analytical and reasoning skills that Supreme Court justices employ, and to apply these skills to the Constitutional issues covered in their particular course.