Instant Info Riches
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA | ISBN-10: 0195103432 | edition July 26, 2001 | PDF | 304 pages | 11.78 mb
The protagonists of this ambitious account are an elusive figure named Effective Anti-Crime Legislation and the tragic John Q. Public; Partisan Politician, Lobbyist and the Media play supporting roles. Gest, an award-winning writer for U.S. News and World Report, reenacts the 30-year modern American crime drama to show that we are shooting in the dark, so to speak, in our crime legislation we don't know what is effective in reducing crime. In his extensive research, he interviewed key crime-fighters, including former U.S. Attorneys General Edwin Meese and Janet Reno, and federal legislators Arlen Specter, Edward Kennedy and Joseph Biden. Gest presents back-room views of laws and administration policies that range from "Just Say No" and Three Strikes, to the truth-in-sentencing initiative and juvenile boot camps. Since the mid-'60s, when conservative Republican Barry Goldwater "put crime on the national agenda," politicians have tried to appear tough on crime. Gest largely attributes ineffective crime legislation to inconsistent leadership, ideological bickering, misguided theatrics and hasty, simplistic solutions, particularly following the Columbine and Polly Klaas tragedies. He takes the media to task for sensationalism and ignoring meaningful debate and success stories. Gest notes promising, mostly grassroots (as opposed to federal) reforms and offers a seed plan for smarter crime-fighting. But this dense, scholarly book lacks enough concrete examples to ground the lay reader. Students of crime, sociology and politics should find it rather informative.