Caught: The Prison State and the Lockdown of American Politics (Revised)


Product Details

Princeton University Press
Publish Date
6.1 X 9.2 X 1.4 inches | 1.55 pounds

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About the Author

Marie Gottschalk is professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania. A former journalist and editor, she was a member of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on the Causes and Consequences of High Rates of Incarceration. She is the author of, among other works, The Prison and the Gallows: The Politics of Mass Incarceration in America and The Shadow Welfare State: Labor, Business, and the Politics of Health Care in the United States.


"This is the most comprehensive, synthetic, and compelling account of what is driving penal trends in America today. For contemporary scholars and activists, Caught is certain to become a common starting point for future debates about what direction policy reform and social activism should take."--Jonathan Simon, author of Governing through Crime: How the War on Crime Transformed American Democracy and Created a Culture of Fear
"[A]cademic but accessible, and it has an urgency to it. . . . A needed cry for justice."--Kirkus Reviews
"This is a brilliantly framed, intellectually courageous analysis of a pivotal and problematic period in American criminal justice history. Gottschalk offers unique and penetrating insights into the complex forces that led to the creation of our nation's massive carceral state. Her research is meticulous, the scope of her vision is sweeping, and her criticism is unflinching. Absolutely essential reading for understanding this profound transformation of American society."--Craig W. Haney, University of California, Santa Cruz
"Gottschalk's book is a tour de force. Caught constitutes a searing critique of current incarceration policies and prevailing approaches to prison reform. It is brilliantly argued, breathtakingly capacious in its informational reach, and intellectually bold. A stunning achievement."--Mary Fainsod Katzenstein, Cornell University
"In this pathbreaking and meticulous book, Gottschalk traces the rapid development of highly targeted mass imprisonment since the early 1970s. Drawing links between the prison buildup and a range of policies that have increased state control and surveillance beyond the prison, Caught sheds new light on the relationship between criminal justice and the ideological shape, material conditions, and institutional structure of the broader political economy."--Nicola Lacey, London School of Economics
"Caught makes clear that we have totally underestimated just how devastating an impact today's massive carceral state has had on our nation, and shines much-needed light on why it has been so immune to attempts at reform. Most importantly, this book offers vital new perspective on what it actually will take to unmake this criminal justice crisis."--Heather Ann Thompson, University of Michigan
"Carefully documented. . . . It is hard to imagine a more comprehensive analysis of our shameful crisis."---Adam Hochschild, New York Review of Books
"Gottschalk provides a systematic, surprising, and scathing critique of the prison state. . . . Caught may well be the best book on this subject to appear in decades."---Glenn C. Altschuler, Huffington Post
"Gottschalk is particularly convincing about the follow-on effects of incarceration on the vulnerable neighborhoods that contribute most to the prison population."---Jakub Wrzewniewski, Pacific Standard
"An encyclopedic synthesis of recent scholarly work and journalism on criminal justice, Caught spans a wide range of topics but has a simple refrain: Beware of bipartisan reformers bearing gifts. Politicians pretend that hard problems are easy and make easy problems hard. Gottschalk, to her credit, is no politician."---Sara Mayeux, Chronicle Review
"Everyone . . . should read this book."---Angelia Wilson, Times Higher Education
"Gottschalk has done a public service. She has tried to untangle a fiendishly complex subject, helping to liberate her readers from the intellectual prison of conventional wisdom in the process."---Gary Silverman, Financial Times
"Marie Gottschalk's commanding and disturbing Caught is our best guide to the political decisions and public policies that have created the carceral state and our present immobility on the issue of crime and its punishment. . . . Caught is that relatively rare academic book that hopes to move both public debate and policy."---Michael Meranze, Los Angeles Review of Books
"[D]evastatingly persuasive. . . . Caught proves not only an authoritative companion to the criminal justice system crises you know, but also a thorough compendium of the crises you've never even considered."---Stephen Lurie, Los Angeles Review of Books
"[A] powerful book."--Choice
"Gottschalk convincingly shows that the American penal system has come to embody a very un-American idea: that there are lives that are not worth caring about and people beyond reforming."--The Christian Century
"Gottschalk's analysis offers a strong counternarrative to existing quick-fix solutions to mass incarceration."---James Kilgore, Truthout
"Caught is an impressive accomplishment."---Bob Lane, Metapsychology
"Caught is hard-hitting book on all that is wrong with the American carceral state. Importantly, it also shows why previous reform efforts have failed."---Eleanor Healy-Birt, Interlib
"Admirably bold. . . . [S]weeping and magisterial."--Perspectives on Politics
"Marie Gottschalk masterfully and conscientiously brings out the complex web of relations between the American system of punishment and the state of democracy or, as she adeptly names it, 'the problem of the prison beyond the prison' (256). Expounding on years of expert research and experiences of punishment in contexts of legitimacy and desistance, the book has the power to unite a future imagining of moving beyond neoliberal goals couched in their ever present racialized and techno-bureaucratic traditional understandings of punishment and process."---Naomi Couto, European Legacy
"Winner of the 2016 Michael Harrington Book Award, New Political Science Section of the American Political Science Association"
"Winner of the 2018 Michael J. Hindelang Award, American Society of Criminology"