Shedding light on how we might end mass incarceration, The Price of Freedom compares the histories and goals of the US and German justice systems. Drawing on in-depth interviews with incarcerated young men in the United States and Germany, Michaela Soyer argues that the apparent lenience of the German criminal justice system is founded on the violent enforcement of cultural homogeneity at the hands of the German welfare state. Demonstrating how both societies have constructed a racialized underclass of outsiders, this book emphasizes that criminal justice reformers in the United States need to move beyond European models in order to build a truly just, diverse society.
“A provocative and deeply humane book.” — FRANÇOIS BONNET, author of The Upper Limit: How Low-Wage Work Defines Punishment and Welfare
“Drawing on sensitive interviews and nuanced comparative ethnography, Soyer points to what the German and American justice systems might learn from each other.” — PHILIP KASINITZ, coeditor of Growing Up Muslim in Europe and the United States
“This innovative book invites us to view both US and German criminal justice systems with fresh eyes.” — JAN DOERING, author of Us versus Them: Race, Crime, and Gentrification in Chicago Neighborhoods
“Soyer’s unique comparative analysis provides important insights into processes of racial and ethnic marginalization and criminalization.” — DANIELLE RAUDENBUSH, author of Health Care Off the Books: Poverty, Illness, and Strategies for Survival in Urban America
“This rare comparative work has much to offer prison scholars as well as those interested in poverty, social marginalization, and comparative social theory.” — SARA WAKEFIELD, coauthor of Children of the Prison Boom: Mass Incarceration and the Future of American Inequality
MICHAELA SOYER is Associate Professor of Sociology at Hunter College. She is author of A Dream Denied: Incarceration, Recidivism, and Young Minority Men in America and Lost Childhoods: Poverty, Trauma, and Violent Crime in the Post-Welfare Era.
Soyer, M. 2023. The Price of Freedom: Criminalization and the Management of Outsiders in Germany and the United States. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.171
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