Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Rebel and a Cause
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Rebel and a Cause: Caryl Chessman and the Politics of the Death Penalty in Postwar California, 1948-1974

Theodore Hamm


This book uses the 1960 execution of Caryl Chessman as a lens for examining how politics and debates about criminal justice became a volatile mix that ignited postwar California. The effects of those years continue to be felt as the state's three-strikes law and expanding prison-construction program spark heated arguments over rehabilitation and punishment. Known as the Red Light Bandit, Chessman allegedly stalked lovers' lanes in Los Angeles. Eventually convicted of rape and kidnapping, he was sentenced to death in 1948. In prison he gained significant notoriety as a writer, beginning with hi ... More

Keywords: Caryl Chessman, California, criminal justice, death penalty, execution, rehabilitation, punishment, prison reform

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2001 Print ISBN-13: 9780520224278
Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012 DOI:10.1525/california/9780520224278.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Theodore Hamm, author