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Joshua Page 300

U of M sociology professor Joshua Page is the author of the new book, “The ‘Toughest Beat’: Politics, Punishment, and the Prison Officers’ Union in California,” which hits bookstores today.

The crisis is now the status quo in California prison system; powerful union plays a role, U of M expert finds

February 28, 2011

In America today, one in every 100 adults is behind bars. As our prison population has exploded, “law and order” interest groups have also grown in numbers and political clout. Who are these groups and how do they relate to current debates about the roles and rights of public sector unions?

A University of Minnesota sociologist who can provide insight is:

Joshua Page, assistant professor, Department of Sociology

Page is the author of the new book, “The ‘Toughest Beat’: Politics, Punishment, and the Prison Officers’ Union in California,” which hits bookstores today.

In the book, Page argues that the Golden State’s prison boom fueled the rise of one of the most politically potent and feared interest groups in the nation: the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA). As it made great strides for its members, the prison officers’ union also fundamentally altered the composition and orientation of the penal field, Page says.

“It promoted extreme punishment and moralistic conceptions of prisoners, helped institute ultra-tough penal policies such as ‘Three Strikes and You’re Out,’ obstructed efforts to privatize prisons and empowered sympathetic political figures and groups, including crime victims’ organizations that it helped create,” Page says. To understand the nature, purpose and scope of California’s penal system, Page explains, we cannot neglect the story of this group so often known simply as “the powerful prison guards union.”

For more information about “The ‘Toughest Beat,’” visit the publisher’s webpage:
www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/Sociology/CriminalJustice/Criminology/?view=usa&ci=9780195384055.

Page’s research and teaching interests include crime, law and punishment, as well as labor and unionization.

To interview Page, contact Jeff Falk, jfalk@umn.edu or (612) 626-1720. Page can be reached directly at page@umn.edu or (612) 624-9333.

Expert Alert is a service provided by the University News Service. Delivered regularly, Expert Alert is designed to connect university experts to today’s breaking news and current events. For an archive and other useful media services, visit www.umn.edu/news. Views expressed by experts do not represent the views of the University of Minnesota.

Tags: College of Liberal Arts

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