The Feminist War on Crime: The Unexpected Role of Women’s Liberation in Mass Incarceration

Univ. of California. May 2020. 304. ISBN 9780520304512. $29.95. LAW
Former public defender Gruber (Univ. of Colorado Law Sch.) analyzes ways in which the feminist movement has contributed to mass incarceration nationwide. Gruber asserts that white feminists joined the war on crime to protect women from rape and domestic violence but contends that this route has been counterproductive—in an uncompromising justice system, those from marginalized communities, including women of color, are especially vulnerable. She explores the history of violence against women and the responses of the first and second waves of feminism, and puts the onus on third-wave and future feminists to decide whether to continue down this path. The author uses real-life cases and policies to demonstrate how this movement has impacted both victims and offenders and offers suggestions for moving forward.
VERDICT Gruber brings to light the ties between feminist movements and mass incarceration in this deeply researched, timely analysis. Likely too academic for casual readers, this offering is recommended for women’s, gender studies, and criminal justice collections.
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