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Progressive Punishment: Job Loss, Jail Growth, and the Neoliberal Logic of Carceral Expansion

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Winner, 2017 American Society of Criminology's Division on Critical Criminology and Social Justice Best Book Award An examination of the neoliberal politics of incarceration The growth of mass incarceration in the United States eludes neat categorization as a product of the political Right. Liberals played important roles in both laying the foundation for and then participa Winner, 2017 American Society of Criminology's Division on Critical Criminology and Social Justice Best Book Award An examination of the neoliberal politics of incarceration The growth of mass incarceration in the United States eludes neat categorization as a product of the political Right. Liberals played important roles in both laying the foundation for and then participating in the conservative tough on crime movement that is largely credited with the rise of the prison state. But what of those politicians and activists on the Left who reject punitive politics in favor of rehabilitation and a stronger welfare state? Can progressive policies such as these, with their benevolent intentions, nevertheless contribute to the expansion of mass incarceration? In Progressive Punishment, Judah Schept offers an ethnographic examination into the politics of incarceration in Bloomington, Indiana in order to consider the ways that liberal discourses about therapeutic justice and rehabilitation can uphold the logics, practices and institutions that comprise the carceral state. Schept examines how political leaders on the Left, despite being critical of mass incarceration, advocated for a "justice campus" that would have dramatically expanded the local criminal justice system. At the root of this proposal, Schept argues, is a confluence of neoliberal-style changes in the community that naturalized prison expansion as political common sense among leaders negotiating crises of deindustrialization, urban decline, and the devolution of social welfare. In spite of the momentum that the proposal gained, Schept uncovers resistance among community organizers, who developed important strategies and discourses to challenge the justice campus, disrupt some of the logics that provided it legitimacy, and offer new possibilities for a non-carceral community. A well-researched and well-narrated study, Progressive Punishment offers a novel perspective on the relationship between liberal politics, neoliberalism, and mass incarceration.


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Winner, 2017 American Society of Criminology's Division on Critical Criminology and Social Justice Best Book Award An examination of the neoliberal politics of incarceration The growth of mass incarceration in the United States eludes neat categorization as a product of the political Right. Liberals played important roles in both laying the foundation for and then participa Winner, 2017 American Society of Criminology's Division on Critical Criminology and Social Justice Best Book Award An examination of the neoliberal politics of incarceration The growth of mass incarceration in the United States eludes neat categorization as a product of the political Right. Liberals played important roles in both laying the foundation for and then participating in the conservative tough on crime movement that is largely credited with the rise of the prison state. But what of those politicians and activists on the Left who reject punitive politics in favor of rehabilitation and a stronger welfare state? Can progressive policies such as these, with their benevolent intentions, nevertheless contribute to the expansion of mass incarceration? In Progressive Punishment, Judah Schept offers an ethnographic examination into the politics of incarceration in Bloomington, Indiana in order to consider the ways that liberal discourses about therapeutic justice and rehabilitation can uphold the logics, practices and institutions that comprise the carceral state. Schept examines how political leaders on the Left, despite being critical of mass incarceration, advocated for a "justice campus" that would have dramatically expanded the local criminal justice system. At the root of this proposal, Schept argues, is a confluence of neoliberal-style changes in the community that naturalized prison expansion as political common sense among leaders negotiating crises of deindustrialization, urban decline, and the devolution of social welfare. In spite of the momentum that the proposal gained, Schept uncovers resistance among community organizers, who developed important strategies and discourses to challenge the justice campus, disrupt some of the logics that provided it legitimacy, and offer new possibilities for a non-carceral community. A well-researched and well-narrated study, Progressive Punishment offers a novel perspective on the relationship between liberal politics, neoliberalism, and mass incarceration.

33 review for Progressive Punishment: Job Loss, Jail Growth, and the Neoliberal Logic of Carceral Expansion

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ietrio

    After many documentaries and printed biographies, could the academic paper pushers miss the opportunity to pose as "an expert"? After many documentaries and printed biographies, could the academic paper pushers miss the opportunity to pose as "an expert"?

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    If you're interested in looking at what prison abolitionist activism looks like "in real life," and how abolitionists interact with liberal reformist activists, this book is a great resource. It focuses on the interactions of activists in the Bloomington, Indiana suburbs, providing detailed descriptions of different plans for building a new "justice campus" and how activists who themselves identify as opposed to the "Prison Industrial Complex" are able to reconcile their anti-prison concerns wit If you're interested in looking at what prison abolitionist activism looks like "in real life," and how abolitionists interact with liberal reformist activists, this book is a great resource. It focuses on the interactions of activists in the Bloomington, Indiana suburbs, providing detailed descriptions of different plans for building a new "justice campus" and how activists who themselves identify as opposed to the "Prison Industrial Complex" are able to reconcile their anti-prison concerns with actions that further build the PIC itself. It's a much-needed book for our times, as more and more people speak a language of abolition without necessarily practicing abolitionist principles. As he shows the strategies of a small abolitionist collective in conflict with the more established county and municipal players, it could be an excellent book for group discussions in a variety of activist or academic spaces. I especially appreciate the way the author describes how the network of seemingly well-meaning activists in both non-profit and state agencies conduct studies that completely leave out the voices of prisoners and their families, while claiming to speak in the language of community, and how this relates to a liberal common sense about expertise and "stakeholders" that is rarely questioned. The book draws on the most recent scholarship in the field, and includes some really helpful bibliographical notes at the end.

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    Gary W

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    Matthew

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    Catalina Velasquez

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    Ben

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