The Punitive Turn
New Approaches to Race and Incarceration
Publication Year: 2013
The Punitive Turn explores the historical, political, economic, and sociocultural roots of mass incarceration, as well as its collateral costs and consequences. Giving significant attention to the exacting toll that incarceration takes on inmates, their families, their communities, and society at large, the volume’s contributors investigate the causes of the unbridled expansion of incarceration in the United States. Experts from multiple scholarly disciplines offer fresh research on race and inequality in the criminal justice system and the effects of mass incarceration on minority groups' economic situation and political inclusion. In addition, practitioners and activists from the Sentencing Project, the Virginia Organizing Project, and the Restorative Community Foundation, among others, discuss race and imprisonment from the perspective of those working directly in the field. Employing a multidisciplinary approach, the essays included in the volume provide an unprecedented range of perspectives on the growth and racial dimensions of incarceration in the United States and generate critical questions not simply about the penal system but also about the inner workings, failings, and future of American democracy.
Contributors: Ethan Blue (University of Western Australia) * Mary Ellen Curtin (American University) * Harold Folley (Virginia Organizing Project) * Eddie Harris (Children Youth and Family Services) * Anna R. Haskins (University of Wisconsin–Madison) * Cheryl D. Hicks (University of North Carolina at Charlotte) * Charles E. Lewis Jr. (Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy) * Marc Mauer (The Sentencing Project) * Anoop Mirpuri (Portland State University) * Christopher Muller (Harvard University) * Marlon B. Ross (University of Virginia) * Jim Shea (Community Organizer) * Jonathan Simon (University of California–Berkeley) * Heather Ann Thompson (Temple University) * Debbie Walker (The Female Perspective) * Christopher Wildeman (Yale University) * Interviews by Jared Brown (University of Virginia) & Tshepo Morongwa Chéry (University of Texas–Austin)
Published by: University of Virginia Press
Title Page, Copyright
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Foreword: Challenging Mass Incarceration
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I didn’t know jack weenie about what people were going through in here —Randy “Duke” Cunningham, former “tough on crime” member of Congress, imprisoned for eight years on conspiracy and tax- evasion chargesIt is now commonplace to note that the United States, with its more than 2 million people behind bars, has become the world’s leading jailer, incarcerat-ing far more of its citizens than do other industrialized nations. Criminologists ...
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This collection of essays grew out of a three- day symposium held at the Univer-sity of Virginia during the spring of 2009. Sponsored by the Carter G. Wood-son Institute for African- American and African Studies, the symposium’s theme was “The Problem of Punishment: Race, Inequality, and Justice.” The vast majority of essays collected in this volume were given as short papers and then expanded and revised for publication. The editors wish to acknowledge a generous grant ...
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The prison is considered an inevitable and permanent feature of our The prison has become a looming presence in our society to an extent unparalleled in our history—or that of any other industrial democracy. Short of major wars, mass incarceration has been the most thoroughly Whatever accrues to formal citizenship depreciates under the pressure of ...
1 Punishment inHistorical Perspective
A genealogy of the contemporary prison regime awakens both the historical memory and the sociopolitical logic of the Middle Passage. The prison has come to form a hauntingly similar spatial and temporal continuum between social and biological notions of life and death, banal liberal civic freedom and totalizing unfreedom, community and alienation, agency and liquidation, the ...
“Please Hear Our Cries”
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How should historians approach the history of the imprisoned, and how should the parameters of research be defi ned? A fi eld largely dominated by social scientists, prison history remains fairly new terrain for historians who still seem to lack a central set of questions to explore or a methodology to employ. Is prison history the story of institutions or of convicts? When does it begin—at the moment of incarceration or the moment of arrest and trial? And when does it ...
From Researching the Past toReimagining the Future
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By the fi rst decade of the twenty- fi rst century, the United States found itself in an unimaginable incarceration crisis. As the new millennium dawned, this country was locking up more of its citizens than any other country on the globe. By 2010, more than 7 million Americans had become trapped in the crimi-nal justice system and more than 2 million of them were actually living behind bars. African Americans suffered this turn to mass incarceration most dramati-...
“Bright and Good Looking Colored Girl”
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Mabel Hampton’s experiences in early- twentieth- century Harlem never quite measured up to the popular image that many New Yorkers (and later the world) held of the black neighborhood. In 1924, as a twenty- one- year- old resi-dent, she knew that visitors from other parts of the city would go to “the night- clubs . . . and dance to such jazz music as [could] be heard nowhere else,” that the region’s major thoroughfares like Lenox and Seventh Avenues were “never ...
Abject Correction andPenal Medical Photographyin the Early Twentieth Century
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On the morning of March 14, 1913—the first of many such times, Dr. Leo L. Stanley, the resident physician at San Quentin State Prison, took part in a man’s execution. While Stanley waited anxiously under the scaffold in the prison’s death chamber, above him, Poolos Prantikos, a forty-five-year-old Greek immigrant convicted of killing two police officers, awaited the moment of death. As ...
Mass Incarceration, Prisoner Rights,and the Legacy of the RadicalPrison Movement
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In recent years, prison revolts have occurred throughout the world. . . . One may, if one is so disposed, see them as no more than blind demands or suspect the existence behind them of alien strategies. In fact, they were revolts, at the level of the body, against the very body of the prison. What was at issue was not whether the prison environment was too harsh or too aseptic, too primitive or ...
2 Social and EconomicConsequences ofPunishment
Rather than assuming family structure is the core contributor to the growth in crime and incarceration, policy makers must consider the sobering fact that these families and communities are being devastated because of the mass incarceration of over a million black men and women. Rather than the overarching assumption that family structure leads to crime and incarceration, ...
Economic and Relational Penaltiesof Incarceration
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The election of Barack Obama as the forty- fourth president of the United States and the fi rst person of African heritage to ascend to this nation’s high-est offi ce gives us much to celebrate. However, enormous challenges still confront our nation and African Americans specifi cally. Many of the issues facing African Americans—health disparities, poor education and economic outcomes, and lim-ited family formation—either lead to, stem from, or are in some way connected ...
Implications of Mass Imprisonment forInequality among American Children
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In 1973, the American imprisonment rate began an ascent from which it has only recently deviated. In just over thirty- fi ve years, the rate grew fi vefold, from roughly 100 per 100,000 people to roughly 500 per 100,000 (fi gure 1). Although the incarceration rates of comparable nations have also grown over the same pe-riod, none approaches that of the United States. England, the nation with the second- highest incarceration rate among long- standing Western democracies, ...
The “Hard Back” of Mass Incarceration
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Recent efforts to limit mass incarceration have focused on moving persons con- victed of drug or property crimes into drug treatment through diversion or enhanced probation programs as an alternative to imprisonment. These measures have much merit, and the political risks of pursuing them seem minimal. The public does not perceive drug users and drug addicts who commit property crimes as inherently dangerous; and the policy case for improving future outcomes at ...
3 Race, Prison, and theAesthetic Imagination
It’s around midnight. The lights are out and the T.V.’s off. For the past hour some young bloods, huddled in the back of the cage, have been do/wopping some old songs. This is my best time; I just lie/back on my bunk and space out. Right now a dude in the cage behind me is singing, “I’ve seen fi re, I’ve seen rain—I’ve seen sunny days. . . .” This is the fi rst time I’ve really listened to the ...
Rage against the Machine
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Late in the afternoon of April 4, 2003, an eclectic crowd of two thousand crammed into Treme Community Center in New Orleans, Louisiana, for the opening session of the conference “Critical Resistance South: Beyond the Prison Industrial Complex.” Commencing on the thirty- fi fth anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, the three- day conference featured several promi-nent intellectuals, prison abolitionists, and penal reform advocates, including ...
Law and Dis/Order
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I want to start with a self- humbling confession. I love the TV series Law and Order. I used to love the HBO series Oz. Even more insidious than these shows is the recent reality TV show Inside American Jail (Spike TV). Focused ostensibly on actual inmates behind bars, this new show is by the same team that gave us the reality show Cops, which captures police offi cers in various cities making ar-rests of suspects (faces often covered). These suspects are presumed guilty upon ...
4 Life after Prison:Interviews
While the impact of incarceration on individuals can be quantifi ed to a certain extent, the wide- ranging effects of the race to incarcerate on African American communities in particular is a phenomenon that is only beginning to be investigated. What does it mean to a community, for example, to know that three out of ten boys growing up will spend time in prison? What does it do to ...
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Jim Shea: My name is Jim Shea. I’m a retired university employee. I am also an alumnus of the university. I’m an ex- offender. I’m active in various political circles in Charlottesville. I’m an old guy with thirteen grandchildren.JB: Could you elaborate on some of the political involvement that you spoke JS: These days my partner of forty years, Brenda Lambert, and I, have been very ...
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Tshepo Morongwa Chéry: How did you get involved in Virginia Organizing?1Harold Folley: I got involved with Virginia Organizing through the Public Housing Association of Residents, a citywide organization that works on hous-ing issues throughout the city of Charlottesville. There are seven public hous-ing sites, and I was an organizer for them. Then I became an organizer for ...
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Tshepo Morongwa Chéry: This is an interview with Mr. Eddie Harris from REAL Dads.1 Can you please describe how you got involved with the [REAL Eddie Harris: Well, actually I got involved with REAL Dads when I was facing a criminal situation and I needed a job. I was working at a carpet- cleaning place doing some telemarketing, and a friend of mine suggested [that I] contact the ...
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Tshepo Morongwa Chéry: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your experiences with the prison system, and how you became involved in the fe- Debbie Walker: I moved up here [Charlottesville] back in March from Danville. Because of my involvement with the prison system, I made a strong decision in my life not to go back. Once you become an offender, it’s really easy to go ...
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Page Count: 352
Illustrations: 4 b&w illus., 1 graph, 9 tables
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Carter G. Woodson Institute Series