In recent years the very idea of criminal justice has come under increasing scrutiny by academics, activists, and even casual observers. From the rash of extra-judicial killings by police and other officers of the law, to the manifest inequalities of the system of mass incarceration, hardly a week goes by without some new headline pointing to injustices in the way our society executes its ‘tough on crime’ ethos.
In Marxism and Criminology, Valeria Vegh Weis argues that far from being mere excesses, things like racial profiling, prosecutorial discretion, and other expressions of what the author terms over-criminalization have been constitutive features of capitalist society from its beginning. To that end, Weis sets out to rehabilitate the contributions and methodology of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels to analyze crime and punishment through the historical development of capitalism in Europe and in the United States. She invites us to revisit their contributions to identify socio-economic and historic patterns of crime and punishment in order to foster transformative changes to our approach to criminal justice.