CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Dolovich on Incarceration

Sharon Dolovich (Professor at University of California, Los Angeles School of Law/Visiting Professor at Georgetown University Law Center) has posted Incarceration American-Style (Harvard Law & Policy Review, Vol. 3, 2009) on SSRN. Here is the abstract: Dolovich
In the United States today, incarceration is more than just a mode of criminal punishment. It is a distinct cultural practice with its own aesthetic and technique, a practice that has emerged in recent decades as a catch-all mechanism for managing social ills. In this essay, I argue that this emergent carceral system has become self-generating - that American-style incarceration, through the conditions it inflicts, produces the very conduct society claims to abhor and thereby guarantees a steady supply of offenders whose incarceration the public will continue to demand. I argue, moreover, that this reproductive process works to create a class of permanently marginalized and degraded noncitizens - disproportionately poor people of color - who are marked out by the fact of their incarceration for perpetual social exclusion and ongoing social control. This essay serves as the Foreword to a symposium in the Harvard Law & Policy Review addressing the costs of mass incarceration.
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