What if our criminal justice system is biased against the poor from start to finish - from the definition of what constitutes a crime through the process of arrest, trial, and sentencing?
In this best-selling text, the author argues that actions of well-off people, such as the refusal to make workplaces safe, refusal to curtail deadly pollution, promotion of unnecessary surgery, and prescriptions for unnecessary drugs, cause occupational and environmental hazards to innocent members of the public and produce as much death, destruction, and financial loss as so-called crimes of the poor. However, these crimes of the well-off are rarely treated as severely as those of the poor. Reiman documents the extent of anti-poor bias in arrest, conviction, and sentencing practices and shows that the bias is conjoined with a general refusal to remedy the causes of crime-poverty, lack of education, and discrimination. As a result, the criminal justice system fails to reduce crime. The author uses numerous studies and examples to illustrate his points, and difficult concepts are explained in a non-technical manner. The book provokes thought and discussion, even among people who disagree with its content.
One reviewer describes the text as “one of the most outstanding critiques of the criminal justice process…a book that needed to be written and needs to be published again and again… a text as relevant today as when first published in 1979.”