Mad or Bad? Race, Class, Gender, and Mental Disorder in the Criminal Justice System (Criminal Jusctice: Recent Scholarship)

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9781593323325: Mad or Bad? Race, Class, Gender, and Mental Disorder in the Criminal Justice System (Criminal Jusctice: Recent Scholarship)
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Thompson explores the process through which criminal responsibility is constructed and reproduced on the basis of race and gender. While feminist literature points to constructions of female offenders as mad and male offenders as bad, this research do not support this perspective. Instead, major findings include strong and consistent evidence that African American defendants are less likely to receive psychiatric evaluations to determine mental status at the time of the offense. This implies that criminal justice officials have racial perceptions about the causes of crime; consequently, African American defendants may be portrayed as normal criminals who are held to a different level of responsibility than non-African Americans. Each chapter concludes with review and research questions to facilitate class use.

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About the Author:

Melissa Thompson is an associate professor of sociology at Portland State University. Her research projects include examining the gendered nature of the drugs/crime connection, studying mental health implications of criminal justice interventions, investigating the impact of children on the recidivism of female offenders, and exploring racial differences in access to health care treatment in prison and during reentry into the community.

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