Critical Criminology

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 157–163 | Cite as

Ruth Gilmore, Golden Gulag. Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California

University of California Press, Berkeley, 2007, 388 pp
  • Alessandro De Giorgi

A Scholar Activist in the Golden Gulag

Racism is the state-sanctioned and/or extralegal production and exploitation of group-differentiated vulnerability to premature death. Prison expansion is a new iteration of this theme (p. 247).

Few quotations from Ruth Gilmore’s Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California would be as effective as this one in sketching the coordinates of this book’s powerful critique of the “penal question” in late XX century California. Another example might be the author’s ironic reproach to those conservative politicians and self-appointed criminologists who still claim that the prisonization of the United States represents a rational response to increasing crime rates and to an ubiquitous fear of street crime, and who then proclaim that both crime and fear are declining as a consequence of this unprecedented prison expansion: “crime went up, crime went down, we cracked down” (p. 20) is Gilmore’s comment to this story.



Critical Criminologist Penal System Street Crime Prison Privatization Surplus Population 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Justice Studies DepartmentSan Jose State UniversitySan JoséUSA

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