Description : The United States has built a carceral state that is unprecedented among Western countries and in US history. Nearly one in 50 people, excluding children and the elderly, is incarcerated today, a rate unsurpassed anywhere else in the world. What are some of the main political forces that explain this unprecedented reliance on mass imprisonment? Throughout American history, crime and punishment have been central features of American political development. This 2006 book examines the development of four key movements that mediated the construction of the carceral state in important ways: the victims' movement, the women's movement, the prisoners' rights movement, and opponents of the death penalty. This book argues that punitive penal policies were forged by particular social movements and interest groups within the constraints of larger institutional structures and historical developments that distinguish the United States from other Western countries.
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Description : In this book, for the first time, we can hear the startling, moving voices of adventurous and rebellious Japanese women as they eloquently challenged the social repression of prewar Japan. The extraordinary women whose memoirs, recollections, and essays are presented here constitute a strong current in the history of modern Japanese life from the 1880s to the outbreak of the Pacific War.
Description : From Puritan Execution Day rituals to gangsta rap, the black criminal has been an enduring presence in American culture. To understand why, Jeannine Marie DeLombard insists, we must set aside the lenses of pathology and persecution and instead view the African American felon from the far more revealing perspectives of publicity and personhood. When the Supreme Court declared in Dred Scott that African Americans have "no rights which the white man was bound to respect," it overlooked the right to due process, which ensured that black offenders—even slaves—appeared as persons in the eyes of the law. In the familiar account of African Americans' historical shift "from plantation to prison," we have forgotten how, for a century before the Civil War, state punishment affirmed black political membership in the breach, while a thriving popular crime literature provided early America's best-known models of individual black selfhood. Before there was the slave narrative, there was the criminal confession. Placing the black condemned at the forefront of the African American canon allows us to see how a later generation of enslaved activists—most notably, Frederick Douglass—could marshal the public presence and civic authority necessary to fashion themselves as eligible citizens. At the same time, in an era when abolitionists were charging Americans with the national crime of "manstealing," a racialized sense of culpability became equally central to white civic identity. What, for African Americans, is the legacy of a citizenship grounded in culpable personhood? For white Americans, must membership in a nation built on race slavery always betoken guilt? In the Shadow of the Gallows reads classics by J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur, Edgar Allan Poe, Frederick Douglass, Herman Melville, George Lippard, and Edward Everett Hale alongside execution sermons, criminal confessions, trial transcripts, philosophical treatises, and political polemics to address fundamental questions about race, responsibility, and American civic belonging.
Description : By the time that Queen Victoria ascended the throne in 1837, the list of crimes liable to attract the death penalty had effectively been reduced to murder. Yet, despite this, the gallows remained a source of controversy in Victorian Britain and there was a growing unease in liberal quarters surrounding the question of capital punishment. Unease was expressed in various forms, including efforts at outright abolition. Focusing in part on the activities of the Society for the Abolition of Capital Punishment, James Gregory here examines abolitionist strategies, leaders and personnel. He locates the 'gallows question' in an imperial context and explores the ways in which debates about the gallows and abolition featured in literature, from poetry to 'novels of purpose' and popular romances of the underworld. He places the abolitionist movement within the wider Victorian worlds of philanthropy, religious orthodoxy and social morality in a study which will be essential reading for students and researchers of Victorian history.
Description : After escaping en route to their appointment with the gallows, eight condemned men led by Javier Rodriguez blazed a trail of destruction. Wherever they went, the Gallows Gang left behind swinging bodies as a reminder of the fate they had avoided.Four men set out to bring them to justice, but the prison guard Shackleton Frost and Marshal Kurt McLynn both blamed the other for the prisoners having escaped. All they could agree on is that they didn't trust Nathaniel McBain. Wrongly condemned himself, the Gallows Gang held the key to proving Nathaniel's innocence. None of them knew what demons drove the enigmatic man known only as The Preacher.Can this mismatched group put aside their personal feuds for long enough to end the Gallows Gang's reign of terror?
Description : In Against the Gallows, Paul Christian Jones explores the intriguing cooperation of America’s writers—including major figures such as Walt Whitman, John Greenleaf Whittier, E. D. E. N. Southworth, and Herman Melville—with reformers, politicians, clergymen, and periodical editors who attempted to end the practice of capital punishment in the United States during the 1840s and 1850s. In an age of passionate reform efforts, the antigallows movement enjoyed broad popularity, waging its campaign in legislatures, pulpits, newspapers, and literary journals. Although it failed in its ultimate goal of ending hangings across the United States, the movement did achieve various improvements in the practices of the justice system, including reducing the number of capital crimes, eliminating public executions in most northern states, and abolishing capital punishment completely in three states. Although a few historians have studied the antebellum movement against capital punishment, until now very little attention has been paid to the role of America’s writers in these efforts. Jones’s study recovers the relationship between the nation’s literary figures and the movement against the death penalty, illustrating that the editors of literary journals actively encouraged and published antigallows writing, that popular crime novelists created a sympathy toward criminals that led readers to question the state’s justifications for capital punishment, that poets crafted verse that advocated strongly for Christian sympathy for criminals that coincided with an antipathy to the death penalty, and that female sentimental writers fashioned melodramatic narratives that illustrated the injustice of the hanging and reimagined the justice system itself as a sympathetic subject capable of incorporating compassion into its workings and seeing reform rather than revenge as its ends.
Description : A collection of fourteen true accounts of daring prison escapes. These include Philip Dixon, who walked seminaked from Portsmouth to Wales after escaping from a prison hulk and John Gasken and Fred Amey, who used a ladder to climb over Dartmoor’s Wall whilst part of a supervised work party.