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Henry Louis Gates And Racial Profiling: What's The Problem?, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2009

Henry Louis Gates And Racial Profiling: What's The Problem?, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

A string of recent studies has documented significant racial disparities in police stops, searches, and arrests across the country. The issue of racial profiling, however, did not receive national attention until the arrest of Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., at his home in Cambridge. This raises three questions: First, did Sergeant Crowley engage in racial profiling when he arrested Professor Gates? Second, why does it take the wrongful arrest of a respected member of an elite community to focus the attention of the country? Third, why is racial profiling so pervasive in American policing?

The answers to these questions are ...


Executions, Deterrence And Homicide: A Tale Of Two Cities, Franklin Zimring, Jeffrey Fagan, David T. Johnson Jan 2009

Executions, Deterrence And Homicide: A Tale Of Two Cities, Franklin Zimring, Jeffrey Fagan, David T. Johnson

Faculty Scholarship

We compare homicide rates in two quite similar cities with vastly different execution risks. Singapore had an execution rate close to 1 per million per year until an explosive twentyfold increase in 1994-95 and 1996-97 to a level that we show was probably the highest in the world. Then over the next 11 years, Singapore executions dropped by about 95%. Hong Kong, by contrast,has no executions all during the last generation and abolished capital punishment in 1993. Homicide levels and trends are remarkably similar in these two cities over the 35 years after 1973, with neither the surge in ...


Neoliberal Penality: A Brief Genealogy, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2009

Neoliberal Penality: A Brief Genealogy, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

The turn of the twenty first century witnessed important shifts in punishment practices. The most shocking is mass incarceration – the exponential rise in prisoners in state and federal penitentiaries and in county jails beginning in 1973. It is tempting to view these developments as evidence of something new that emerged in the 1970s – of a new culture of control, a new penology, or a new turn to biopower. But it would be a mistake to place too much emphasis on the 1970s since most of the recent trends have antecedents and parallels in the early twentieth century. It is important ...


Pot As Pretext: Marijuana, Race And The New Disorder In New York City Street Policing, Amanda Geller, Jeffrey Fagan Jan 2009

Pot As Pretext: Marijuana, Race And The New Disorder In New York City Street Policing, Amanda Geller, Jeffrey Fagan

Faculty Scholarship

Although possession of small quantities of marijuana has been decriminalized in New York State since the late 1970s, arrests for marijuana possession in New York City have increased more than tenfold since the mid-1990s, and remain high more than ten years later. This rise has been a notable component of the City’s “Order Maintenance Policing” strategy, designed to aggressively target low-level offenses, usually through street interdictions known as “Stop, Question, and Frisk” activity. We analyze data on 2.2 million stops and arrests carried out from 2004 to 2008, and identify significant racial disparities in the implementation of marijuana ...


Randomization In Criminal Justice: A Criminal Law Conversation, Bernard E. Harcourt, Alon Harel, Ken Levy, Michael M. O'Hear, Alice Ristroph Jan 2009

Randomization In Criminal Justice: A Criminal Law Conversation, Bernard E. Harcourt, Alon Harel, Ken Levy, Michael M. O'Hear, Alice Ristroph

Faculty Scholarship

In this Criminal Law Conversation (Robinson, Ferzan & Garvey, eds., Oxford 2009), the authors debate whether there is a role for randomization in the penal sphere - in the criminal law, in policing, and in punishment theory. In his Tanner lectures back in 1987, Jon Elster had argued that there was no role for chance in the criminal law: “I do not think there are any arguments for incorporating lotteries in present-day criminal law,” Elster declared. Bernard Harcourt takes a very different position and embraces chance in the penal sphere, arguing that randomization is often the only way to avoid the pitfalls ...


Street Stops And Broken Windows Revisited: The Demography And Logic Of Proactive Policing In A Safe And Changing City, Jeffrey Fagan, Amanda Geller, Garth Davies, Valerie West Jan 2009

Street Stops And Broken Windows Revisited: The Demography And Logic Of Proactive Policing In A Safe And Changing City, Jeffrey Fagan, Amanda Geller, Garth Davies, Valerie West

Faculty Scholarship

The contributions of order-maintenance policing and broken windows theory to New York City’s remarkable crime decline have been the subject of contentious debate. The dominant policing tactic in New York since the 1990s has been aggressive interdiction of citizens through street encounters in the search for weapons or drugs. Research showed that minority citizens in the 1990s were disproportionately stopped, frisked and searched at rates significantly higher than would be predicted by their race-specific crime rates, and that this excess enforcement was explained by the social structure of predominantly minority neighborhoods than by either their disorder or their crime ...