American Library Association

Delve deeper into "The Legacy: Murder & Media, Politics and Prisons," with a resource list compiled by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association.



On the 'Three Strikes' campaign and the cases that spurred it:

Reynolds, Mike and Jones, Bill, with Evans, Dan. Three Strikes and You're Out: - A Promise to Kimber: The Chronicle of America's Toughest Anti-Crime Law. Fresno: Quill Drier Books, 1996.

The inside story of the campaign for "Three Strikes" from the bereaved father who stayed with the fight and the legislator (and candidate for higher office) who sponsored the law, with help from the latter's legislative assistant.

Bortnick, Barry. Polly Klaas: The Murder of America's Child. New York: Pinnacle Books, 1995.

A relatively early true-crime book on the Klaas kidnapping and murder.

The rights and roles of crime victims are the subject of many books, among them:

Winters, Paul A., ed. America's Victims: Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1996.

Weed, Frank. Certainty of Justice: Reform in the Crime Victim Movement. Hawthorne, New York: Aldine de Gruyter, 1995.

Elias, Robert. Victims Still: The Political Manipulation of Crime Victims. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications, 1993.

Criminal Sentencing

There is also a rich (if polarized) literature on criminal sentencing; within the past decade, this debate has produced books like:

Currie, Elliott. Crime and Punishment in America. New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1998.

Wilson, James Q. Mitigating Circumstances: Law, Science, and Personal Responsibility. New York: Basic Books, 1997.

Bennett, William J., Dilulio, John J., Jr., and Walters, John P. Body Count: Moral Poverty and How to Win America's War Against Crime and Drugs. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996.

Donziger, Steven R., ed. The Real War on Crime: The Report of the National Criminal Justice Commission. New York: Harper Perennial, 1996.

Tonry, Michael. Malign Neglect: Race, Crime & Punishment in America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.

Dilulio, John J., Jr. No Escape: The Future of American Corrections. New York: Basic Books, 1991.

Morris, Norval and Tonry, Michael. Between Prison and Probation: Intermediate Punishments in a Rational Sentencing System. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.

There are also a number of useful collections in this area, including:

Karson, Jill, ed. Criminal Justice: Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 1998.

Kender, Suzanne Elizabeth, ed. Crime in America. New York: H. W. Wilson Co., 1996.

Bidinotto, Robert James, ed. Criminal Justice? The Legal System versus Individual Responsibility. 2nd ed. Irvington-on-Hudson, NY: Foundation for Economic Education, 1995.

Long, Robert Emmet, ed. Criminal Sentencing. New York: H. W. Wilson Co., 1995.

Dilulio, John J., Jr., ed. Courts, Corrections, and the Constitution: The Impact of Judicial Intervention on Prisons and Jails. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.

One recent book zeroes in on media coverage of crime -

Krajicek, David J. Scooped!: Media Miss Real Story on Crime While Chasing Sex, Sleaze, and Celebrities. New York: Columbia University Press, 1998.

while a number analyze the interaction between the media and politics, for example:

Ginsberg, Benjamin. Politics by Other Means: Politicians, Prosecutors, and the Press from Watergate to Whitewater. New York: W. W. Norton, 1999.

Cook, Timothy E. Governing with the News: The News Media as a Political Institution. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998.

Fallows, James. Breaking the News: How the Media Undermine American Democracy. New York: Pantheon, 1996.



This California Criminal Law Observer site provides background information: the provisions of the Three Strikes law and referendum proposition, plus lists of "serious" felonies, "violent" felonies, and juvenile adjudications which qualify as "strikes."

FACTS - Families to Amend California's 3-Strikes - sponsors this site, which includes an electronic petition, news, statistics, a list of groups supporting changes in the law, and 3-Strikes case summaries, as well as local chapter information. The web site can be translated into several non-English languages.



Dozens of mystery writers have taken up one or more of the issues "The Legacy" addresses. Two recent non-series thrillers resonate with some of these themes:

Dee, Jonathan. St. Famous. New York: Doubleday, 1996.

Harrison, Colin. Bodies Electric. New York: Crown Publishers, 1993.


Taking crime, politics, and the media to a national level, there are two obvious "two-fer" (book and video) combinations:

Bernstein, Carl and Woodward, Bob. All the President's Men. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1974.

"All the President's Men." New York: Warner Home Video, 1990 (139 minutes).


Beinhart, Larry. American Hero. New York: Pantheon, 1993.

"Wag the Dog." California: New Line Home Video, 1998 (90 minutes).

Compiled by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association.

Back to Expanded Resources