Book Review: Women of the street: How the criminal justice—Social services alliance fails women in prostitution

AuthorLoretta J. Stalans
Published date01 March 2020
Date01 March 2020
Subject MatterBook Reviews
Chapters 7 and 8 approach the constitutional limits placed on law enforcement and correctional
workers’ use of trickery and craftiness to catch potential wrongdoers. In particular, the authors focus
on the limits of entrapment and the manipulation of suspects during interrogations. Two chapters
deal with avoiding favoritism, ensuring that all have equal protection under the law, two other
chapters explore cruelty (police use of force and the death penalty are given particular attention)
and another two examine subservience to the government (right to bear arms and burden of proof
placed on the state are discussed here). The final chapter discusses important legal cases that have
simply failed to uphold the rights of people due to poor legal decisions.
This highly informative book introduces the reader to a broad set of legal principles in an
approachable, well-organized, and well-written manner that readers from diverse disciplinary back-
grounds and with varying degrees of academic experience will appreciate and learn from. Students
of criminology, criminal justice, sociology, history, punishment, and the law will find this book to be
insightful, intriguing, and an enjoyable resource on fundamental constitutional rights and the crim-
inal justice system. Instructors will be able to rely on Seven Deadly Sins either as the primary text
(likely in lower level undergraduate courses in the area) or as a supplement to a general text on the
criminal justice system in more advanced undergraduate classes or early graduate courses. They will
appreciate the many discussion question placed throughout the text that can be used to stimulate
class discussion about the topic. Outside of the classroom, a wide range of practitioners would
benefit from reading this book including law enforcement and prison officials. Policy makers and the
general public interested in their constitutional rights could also gain a great deal of insight about
how we must continually strive to defend the legal virtues enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.
Dewey, S., & St. Germain, T. (2016). Women of the street: How the criminal justice—Social services alliance fails
women in prostitution. New York: NYU Press. 274 pp. $30, ISBN 978-1-4798-4194-3.
Reviewed by: Loretta J. Stalans, Dept. of CriminalJustice and Criminology, Loyola University Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA
DOI: 10.1177/0734016817754115
Women involved in the street-soliciting segment of the illicit sex market are one of the most
marginalized and impoverished groups. These street-involved women often have multiple struggles
including homelessness, drug addiction, lack of steady legal income, and little familial support.
Susan Dewey, an anthropologist, spent 6 years conducting ethnographic research on this group,
which she called street-involved women. She collaborated with Tonia St. Germain, a legal scholar,
to provide insight about the interactions among street-involved women, criminal justice profession-
als, and social service providers. Susan Dewey conducted an ethnography study that spanned 6
years, conducting participant observation as an unpaid staff member and lived with a street-involved
woman, Leelee, at the East Colfax Avenue transitional housing facility for women leaving the sex
trade. Leelee was a critical informant and liaison to the street culture. Ethnographic methods also
included 100 semistructured interviews with women residing at the facility or actively involved in
the street-soliciting illicit sex market, and interviewing about 24 professionals who were former
colleagues comprising the alliance and included public defenders, police, probation and correctional
officers, vice detectives, diversion court staff, and treatment professionals. Her embeddedness and
longevity of observing interactions between street-involved women and alliance professionals
provided contextualized, credible, and detailed qualitative data.
146 Criminal Justice Review 45(1)

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