Using Hamilton, Ontario, as his model, Weaver makes extensive use of newspaper accounts and police, court, and jail records in a revealing exploration of individual crime cases and overall trends in crime. Tracing the origin and evolution of courts, juries, police, and punishments, Weaver takes into account various social and cultural issues. For example, he shows how increasing centralization and professionalization of the criminal justice system and police have deprived communities of input, and how the legal system continues to be male dominated and biased against newcomers, strangers, and marginalized social groups. Often critical of the "state," Weaver paints a sympathetic view of police constables, who play an ambiguous role in the community while being saddled with an expanding array of onerous duties.
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