This book round up highlights two recently published works that overlap between legal history and punishment and society, as well as between race and crime and punishment.
Ely Aaronson's From Slave Abuse to Hate Crime: The Criminalization of Racial Violence in American History (Cambridge University Press) was released in 2014. This should be of particular interest given the events of the last few years and their resonance with centuries of practice. Amazon's blurb explains,
Spanning previous campaigns for criminalizing slave abuse, lynching, and Klan violence and contemporary debates about the legal response to hate crimes, this book reveals both continuity and change in terms of the political forces underpinning the enactment of new laws regarding racial violence in different periods and of the social and institutional problems that hinder the effective enforcement of these laws.
This book is part of the excellent Cambridge Historical Studies in American Law and Society, which includes Wilf's Law's Imagined Republic, McLennan's The Crisis of Imprisonment, as well as other great historical law and society works.
The Legal History blog has also recently highlighted a work that may be of interest to folks: Thomas Aiello's Jim Crow's Last Stand: Nonunanimous Criminal Jury Verdicts in Louisiana (LSU Press) published this year. According to Amazon's blurb,
The nonunanimous jury-verdict law originally allowed a guilty verdict with only nine juror votes, funneling many of those convicted into the state's burgeoning convict lease system. Yet the law remained on the books well after convict leasing ended.... Jim Crow's Last Stand investigates the ways in which legal policies and patterns of incarceration contribute to a new form of racial inequality.