The introduction outlines the central themes of this collection: the problem of southern distinctiveness; the modernization of the criminal justice system and the centralization of state power; and the relationship between crime control and white supremacy in the Jim Crow South. In doing so, it offers an overview of criminal justice history in the South from the antebellum era through the rise and decline of convict leasing in the postbellum era to the development of new practices surrounding policing, incarceration, and capital punishment after 1890. It also explains the significance of this collection to the historiography on criminal justice in the South, as well as to understanding problems in our present-day penal system. Finally, the introduction summarizes each chapter in the collection.
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