In America today, one in every hundred adults is behind bars. As our prison population has exploded, law and order interest groups have also grown -- in numbers and political clout. In The Toughest Beat, Joshua Page argues in crisp, vivid prose that the Golden States prison boom fueled the rise of one of the most politically potent and feared interest groups in the nation: the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA). As it made great strides for its members, the prison officers union also fundamentally altered the composition and orientation of the penal field. The Toughest Beat is essential reading for anyone concerned with contemporary crime and punishment, interest group politics, and public sector labor unions.