New Article: Robert J. Sampson, Neighbourhood effects and beyond: Explaining the paradoxes of inequality in the changing American metropolis, Urban Studies 2018. Abstract below:
American cities today are simultaneously the same and different from Wilson’s classic portrayal in The Truly Disadvantaged ( 2012), first published over 30 years ago. Concentrated poverty and racial segregation endure, as do racial gaps in multiple aspects of wellbeing. But mass incarceration, the dramatic drop in violent crime, immigration, rising income segregation, the suburbanisation of poverty, and other macrosocial trends have transformed the urban scene. The paradoxical result is that cities today are both better and worse off. In this paper, I put forth a unifying framework on persistence and change in urban inequality, highlighting a theory of neighbourhood effects and the higher-order structure of the contemporary metropolis. I apply this analytic framework to examine: (1) neighbourhood inequality as an important driver and mediator of urban transformation; (2) racial disparities across the life course in compounded deprivation, poisoned development, and intergenerational mobility; and (3) how everyday spatial mobility beyond the local neighbourhood is producing new forms of social isolation and higher-order segregation. I conclude with a challenge to dominant policy perspectives on urban racial inequality.
-Thanks to Susan Bennett for the heads up!
New Article: Laura I Appleman, Cashing in on Convicts: Privatization, Punishment, and the People, 2018 Utah L. Rev. 579. Abstract below:
For-profit prisons, jails, and alternative corrections present a disturbing commodification of the criminal justice system. Though part of a modern trend, privatized corrections has well-established roots traceable to slavery, Jim Crow, and current racially-based inequities. This monetizing of the physical incarceration and regulation of human bodies has had deleterious effects on offenders, communities, and the proper functioning of punishment in our society. Criminal justice privatization severs an essential link between the people and criminal punishment. When we remove the imposition of punishment from the people and delegate it to private actors, we sacrifice the core criminal justice values of expressive, restorative retribution, the voice and interests of the community, and systemic transparency and accountability. This Article shows what is lost when private, for-profit entities are allowed to take on the traditional community function of imposing and regulating punishment. By banking on bondage, private prisons and jails remove the local community from criminal justice, and perpetuate the extreme inequities within the criminal system.
New Article: Kevin D. Judd, Empowering Up: Reversing the Economic Legacy of Racial Segregation, 2 Howard Hum. & Civ. Rts. L. Rev. 1 (2017-2018).
News blog post: German Lopez, America’s gun problem, explained, Vox.com, Aug. 26, 2018.
New Article: Lisa R. Pruitt, The Women Feminism Forgot: Rural and Working-Class White Women in the Era of Trump, forthcoming Toledo L. Rev. (SSRN July 2018). Abstract below:
This article, based on a keynote address delivered at the University of Toledo Law Review Symposium “Gender Equality: Progress and Possibilities,” takes up the task of theorizing gendered aspects of the current chasm between progressive elites on one hand and rural and working-class whites on the other. Pruitt offers observations that aim to cultivate empathy and ultimately temper elite derision toward these populations. The article also lays the groundwork for robust consideration of how feminist legal theory has failed rural and working class white women. Perhaps most importantly, Pruitt begins to think practically about what progressive feminists can and should do to bridge the current divide and, in so doing, cultivate a broad, inclusive sisterhood that better transcends spatial, racial, and socioeconomic differences.
The article proceeds by outlining evidence of our nation’s burgeoning metro-centricity, as well as our ongoing denial of and inattention to issues of socioeconomic disadvantage when they intersect with white skin privilege. Pruitt offers these observations with special attention to the context of the legal academy and legal scholarship. Part II discusses how this neglect of white working-class and rural populations evolved into disdain during the 2016 election season and has hardened into contempt in the era of Trump’s presidency. Part III is a brief overview of socioeconomic and public health trends among these increasingly vulnerable populations, with a particular focus on what has been happening to rural and working class white women since Pruitt began writing about them more than a decade ago. Part IV summarizes what we know about the female vote in election 2016, with some attention also to gendered voting patterns in the special election for the Alabama U.S. Senate seat in 2017. Part V digs into media profiles of female Trump voters, which reveal some themes Pruitt has addressed in prior work, including the understudied and widely ignored tension among various strata within what is broadly perceived as a monolithic white working class. This part also scratches the surface of a major issue in the wake of the 2016 election: the liberal elite tendency to label as “racist” anyone who voted for Trump, as well as the disconnect between this usage and many communities’ far less capacious understanding of the term. Before concluding with thoughts on how to bridge the divide between elites and the white working class, Pruitt uses a personal story (à la Hillbilly Elegy) in an effort to humanize female Trump voters. The postscript holds up the successful West Virginia teachers’ strike of 2018 as a model for cross-class coalition building.
News Coverage: John Washington, What is Prison Abolition? TheNation.com, July 31, 2018.
The movement that is trying to think beyond prisons as a tool to solve society’s problems.
New Article: Cristina Rodrigues, The Cost of Justice: The Importance of a Criminal Defendant’s Ability to Pay in the Era of Commonwealth v. Henry, Northeastern Univ. L. Rev. Vol. 10, No. 1 (2018). Abstract below:
Individuals involved with the criminal courts are exposed to a minefield of fees. In fiscal year 2016, the (state) trial courts of Massachusetts collected over $99 million in fines, fees and court costs. Much of that amount came from the state’s poor residents, poor communities and communities of color, because those groups are dramatically over represented in criminal courts. Individuals who do not make criminal court ordered payments can be jailed. As a public defender in Boston, I see my clients burdened by these fees everyday.
In this article, I detail the way in which these criminal court fees are exacerbating the stark racial and economic inequalities that persist. The statistics are alarming. With great enthusiasm though, I argue that the Supreme Judicial Court’s (SJC) 2016 decision in Commonwealth v. Henry provides powerful legal tools for addressing the unjust imposition and collection of criminal court payments. In Henry, the SJC 1) barred judges from ordering defendants on probation to pay restitution amounts that are beyond their actual ability to pay and 2) barred the very common practice of extending a person’s probation for the sole purpose of collecting more restitution payments. These rules extend beyond what exists in most jurisdictions. In the article, I analyze Henry closely. I then argue that Henry’s rules should be formally extended to all criminal court payments. Doing so could render Henry a watershed case regarding the criminalization of poverty in Massachusetts and beyond. These rules will bring us a bit closer to actualizing the fundamental principle that no individual should be incarcerated for his poverty or treated more harshly by the courts based on his poverty.