Crime, Inequality and Power challenges the dominant definitions of crime and the criminal through its uniquely comparative approach. In this book Eileen Leonard analyzes multiple forms of criminal behavior in the United States, including violence, sexual assault, theft, and drug law violations, whilst also asking readers to consider the parallels between crimes that are rarely thought comparable. Leonard's juxtaposition of familiar street crimes, such as car theft, alongside large-scale corporate theft, vividly exposes profound inequalities in the way crime is defined, and the treatment it receives within the criminal justice system.
Leonard's analysis also reveals the underlying inequalities of race, class, and gender which enable the perpetuation of such crimes, as well as calling into question the reality of fundamental American ideals of fairness and equal justice. Moreover, the book questions whether current policies that punish street crime excessively while minimizing the crimes of the powerful, fail to keep the public safe. A broader consideration of crime, and the inequalities that underlie it, offers a fresh opportunity to rethink public policies and enduring issues of crime and criminal justice.
Challenging the many persistent inequalities in the perception of and response to crime, this critique of American crime and punishment will be of interest to undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as scholars, in the fields of criminology, sociology and law.
Eileen B. Leonard is Professor of Sociology at Vassar College, and she teaches a yearly course at Taconic Correctional Facility for Women. Her teaching and research focus on crime, gender, inequality, and social theory. Eileen has chaired the Sociology Department at Vassar College, and been Director of the Women's Studies Program and the American Studies Program. She is currently Director of Faculty Teaching Development at Vassar.
Introduction 1. The Social Construction of Crime 2.Murder and Assault: Comparing Street crime and Elite Crime 3. The Case of Rape: Perpetrators as Strangers or Significant Others 4. Theft by the Rich and Poor 5. Drug Violations: From Street Corners to Pharmaceutical Headquarters 6. Crimes Against the State and Crimes By the State 7. Punishing Crime 8. Public Policies for a Safer Society.