Matching Items (6)

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Government by Disposal: How Social Construction Theory and Inmate Mortality Demonstrate American Political and Moral Hypocrisy

Description

Ample research proves the American criminal justice system to be a mechanism for the unjust incarceration of hundreds of thousands of non-violent offenders. Less studied is the fact that thousands

Ample research proves the American criminal justice system to be a mechanism for the unjust incarceration of hundreds of thousands of non-violent offenders. Less studied is the fact that thousands of these prisoners die agonizing and ugly deaths in custody each year at the discretion of government officials and public awareness is noticeably lacking. American government is complicit in the expedited premature death of thousands of federal and state inmates thanks to general prisoner anonymity, sociocultural constructs that invite condescension between individuals, and a morally repressive political system. The following analysis regarding the negligent mood underpinning inmate mortality issues attempts to draw connections between American sociological constructs along economic, political, and cultural lines. The priority of this thesis is to detail how such a stunning trend of maleficence has been able to go unchecked for decades, and what this says about American moral and political culture. Social construction theory will be used as a foundation to understanding how subscription to the ideals of American social hierarchies dictates political coercion and consent, and the manner in which this allowed for the emergence of mass incarceration. Further, political alignment and corresponding criminal justice positions will be scrutinized for moral authenticity and juxtaposed to traditional moral interpretations of the U.S. Constitution for ideological consistency. By doing so, I explore how moral and political hypocrisy has led to American moral atrophy, in turn facilitating the ongoing inmate health care crisis, through the sublimation of political values to financial priorities. I also discuss the resolutions for the inmate health crisis through a retroactive, legislative draw-down of incarcerated populations in order to free up budgets and reduce health care provider backlogs. In order to promote the utilitarian benefit of America's perception as a global beacon of freedom and personal liberty, the release of non-violent prisoners is advocated for under the pretense of mending the deep divides along class and racial lines that permeate American society. Finally, I will argue for the reinterpretation of penal philosophy to retreat from methods of incarceration and deterrence. I will attempt to persuade corrections officials to go further than simple rehabilitation and aim for complete redemption of inmates in the eyes of society, in part through the use of biblical overtones. The intended result will entail the eventual bowing of the arc of the moral universe back towards justice and even beyond towards redemption.

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Date Created
  • 2017-05

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Evolutionary Social Psychology, Social Dominance Theory, and Implicit Bias in the Criminal Justice System: An Interdisciplinary Insight into Mass Incarceration

Description

The United States has become home to the largest incarcerated population in the world, containing 25% of the world's prisoners (NAACP, 2013). Within this population, young men of color appear

The United States has become home to the largest incarcerated population in the world, containing 25% of the world's prisoners (NAACP, 2013). Within this population, young men of color appear to be severely overrepresented. This phenomenon can be better understood with the aid of a multi-disciplinary approach within the social sciences. Evolutionary theory is combined with multiple psychological and sociological perspectives, in order to more deeply understand the multi-level intersection of prejudice and discrimination against society's disadvantaged or vulnerable populations. A synthesis of the multiple theoretical angles of social dominance theory, affordance management, and life history theory is used to suggest a threat-based, attributional framework for understanding punitive decision-making and policy support. This conceptualization also considers the importance of the legal system in effecting social change. Future research within the legal arena is recommended to enable a more refined understanding of punitive ideology and implicit bias within the criminal justice system.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014-05

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Starving for justice: reading the relationship between food and criminal justice through creative works of the Black community

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ABSTRACT

Much attention has been given to food justice in both academic and activist communities as of late. This project adds to the growing discourse around food justice by using creative

ABSTRACT

Much attention has been given to food justice in both academic and activist communities as of late. This project adds to the growing discourse around food justice by using creative works produced by members of the black community as case studies to analyze the relationship between food justice and the criminal justice system in their neighborhoods. In particular, this project examines two unique sources of creative expression from the black community. The first is the novel Been ‘Bout Dat, the story of a young boy Fattz, who is born into the projects of New Orleans and takes to street life in order to provide for his siblings and struggling single mother. Written in prison by Johnny Davis it offers a valuable perspective that is combined with historical context and statistical support to construct an understanding of how concepts of food and criminal justice influence each other. The second source is the lyrical content of several hip-hop songs from rappers such as Tupac Shakur, Mos Def, Nas, and Young Jeezy. Comparing the content of these works and the lived realities expressed in both brings new and useful insights about food justice and criminal justice as experienced in poor minority communities. Recognizing this relationship may illuminate solutions to food justice issues through criminal justice reform as well as inform fresh efforts at community renewal.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017

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The experiences of black mothers of incarcerated children: with a focus on their sons

Description

The thesis for this study is that structural racism within the U.S. criminal system causes Black mothers to assume the emotional work of caring for incarcerated sons. This project was

The thesis for this study is that structural racism within the U.S. criminal system causes Black mothers to assume the emotional work of caring for incarcerated sons. This project was designed using an interpretive approach that employed a combination of qualitative and auto-ethnographic methods, drawing on grounded theory principle. Six interviews were conducted with mothers in order to gain in-depth insight into their lived experiences. An auto-ethnographic method was used to analyze the author’s own personal experiences as a family member of the incarcerated in dialogue with the experiences of the broader research population. Studies on the key finding of the psycho-social impacts on mothers with incarcerated sons have explored the relationship between the mental depression of mothers and their son’s incarceration. They have found that financial challenges, dwindling social connections, lousy parenting evaluations, as well as the burden of care of the grandchildren of the incarcerated sons are some of the mediating factors of this relationship. A second key finding also showed that incarceration have had social-economic effects on the prisoner’s families. These families experience extreme financial hardship as a result of incarcerated loved ones. Another finding showed the unique coping strategies for mothers included assuming care taking responsibility, maintaining family relationships, and budget control. Finally, this study found that there are challenges to re-entry experienced by mothers with incarcerated sons when their released. Research findings and original contribution to scholarly knowledge uncovered that Black mothers of the incarcerated in addition to working the Second Shift, are experiencing the phenomena of what is coined to be the “Third Shift.”

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Created

Date Created
  • 2019

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From exclusion to state violence: the transformation of noncitizen detention in the United States and its implications in Arizona, 1891-present

Description

This dissertation analyzes the transformation of noncitizen detention policy in the United States over the twentieth century. For much of that time, official policy remained disconnected from the reality of

This dissertation analyzes the transformation of noncitizen detention policy in the United States over the twentieth century. For much of that time, official policy remained disconnected from the reality of experiences for those subjected to the detention regime. However, once detention policy changed into its current form, disparities between policy and reality virtually disappeared. This work argues that since its inception in the late nineteenth century to its present manifestations, noncitizen detention policy transformed from a form of exclusion to a method of state-sponsored violence. A new periodization based on detention policy refocuses immigration enforcement into three eras: exclusion, humane, and violent. When official policy became state violence, the regime synchronized with noncitizen experiences in detention marked by pain, suffering, isolation, hopelessness, and death. This violent policy followed the era of humane detentions. From 1954 to 1981, during a time of supposedly benevolent national policies premised on a narrative against de facto detentions, Arizona, and the broader Southwest, continued to detain noncitizens while collecting revenue for housing such federal prisoners. Over time increasing detentions contributed to overcrowding. Those incarcerated naturally reacted against such conditions, where federal, state, and local prisoners coalesced to demand their humanity. Yet, when taxpayers ignored these pleas, an eclectic group of sheriffs, state and local politicians, and prison officials negotiated with federal prisoners, commodifying them for federal revenue. Officials then used federal money to revamp existing facilities and build new ones. Receiving money for federal prisoners was so deeply embedded within the Southwest carceral landscape that it allowed for private prison companies to casually take over these relationships previously held by state actors. When official policy changed in 1981, general detentions were used as deterrence to break the will of asylum seekers. With this change, policy and reality melded. No longer needing the pretext of exclusionary rationales nor the fiction of humane policies, the unencumbered state consolidated its official detention policy with a rationale of deterrence. In other words, violence. Analyzing the devolution of noncitizen detention policy provides key insights to understanding its historical antecedents, how this violent detention regime came to be within the modern carceral state, and its implications for the mass incarceration crisis.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018

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'Block Parties Not Jails!' (Re)imagining Public Safety in a Carceral State

Description

In the United States, responsibility for public safety falls under the purview of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. These agencies use a range of strategies to ensure public

In the United States, responsibility for public safety falls under the purview of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. These agencies use a range of strategies to ensure public safety, relying primarily on surveillance, the police, the jail and prison system, and the courts to adjudicate wrongdoing. The United States’ over-reliance on incarceration as an all-encompassing solution to social problems, paired with persistent police violence that disproportionately results in the death of Indigenous, African American, and Latino/a people, has placed these public safety practices under intense scrutiny. There has been a plethora of research examining the crisis of mass incarceration in particular, and the racial, class, and gendered inequities plaguing the criminal justice system more broadly.

Through the (Re)imagining Public Safety Project, I make two primary interventions in this larger body of work. First, this is an abolitionist project. In other words, I ask how people generate safety in their daily lives without relying on the police, or prisons, or criminalization. Second, in developing these alternatives, I center the perspective of people of color who have been directly impacted by racially discriminatory public safety practices. To do so, I designed a collaborative, mixed-method qualitative research project that uses participant-generated photo elicitation interviews, alongside participant observation to (re)imagine public safety. Participants in this project theorized what I am calling “insurgent safety” to describe an alternative practice of safety that is underwritten by what I term “a public ethic of care,” “counter-carceral communication,” and play. Insurgent safety is the presence of self-determination, interdependence, mutual aid, shared vulnerability, joy, and communion rather than walls, cages, and banishment.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015