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A Journal of Crime, Conflict & World Order
Crime and Social Justice No. 13 (1980)

Editorial: Focus on Prisons


This issue of Crime and Social Justice continues to probe in depth three areas that have received previous attention and that are central issues in the current debate about the nature and future of criminology -- namely, sexism and crimes against women, the history of punishment, and the political-economy of the police and legal institutions. As usual, the journal emphasizes an international and comparative perspective, with articles concerning England, Germany, and Tanzania, and contributors from as far as Yugoslavia and Australia. The interdisciplinary focus of the journal is again emphasized not only in content, but also in the authors' training.

The article on rape by the Schwendingers combines the power of subjective experience with a class analysis of sexism; both stylistically and theoretically, the article makes an important contribution to the growing literature on the topic. This is followed by four essays that address the history and dynamics of punishment. Bob Fine examines the social relations and bourgeois ideology of imprisonment as revealed in Bentham's Panopticon; David Williams provides an important, lengthy description and analysis of imprisonment in colonial and neocolonial Tanzania; Georg Rusche's 1930 commentary on the penal crisis in the United States, translated into English for the first time, shows the seeds of Rusche's labor market thesis and strikes a contemporary note following the prison rebellion in New Mexico; and the Schwendingers offer a critique of the "new realists" and alternative policy proposals.

The book reviews also address important issues. Robert Reiner, who has written extensively about police unionism, reviews Tony Bunyan's important book on the political police in Britain; Larry Trujillo, a previous contributor to Crime and Social Justice, reviews an informative book on the Texas Rangers, using it to raise larger questions about the political-economy of policing in the Southwest; and William Chambliss, editor of Contemporary Crises, draws our attention to a lively, analytical, and thoughtful paperback, Critique of Law, written by a Marxist collective in Australia.

Citation: Editors. (1980). "Editorial: Focus on Prisons." Crime and Social Justice 13 (1980): 1. Copyright © 1980 by Social Justice, ISSN 1043-1578. Social Justice, P.O. Box 40601, San Francisco, CA 94140.