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Mass incarceration

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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Criminalization Of Mental Illness And Substance Use Disorder: Addressing The Void Between The Healthcare And Criminal Justice Systems, Emily B. Egart Jan 2024

The Criminalization Of Mental Illness And Substance Use Disorder: Addressing The Void Between The Healthcare And Criminal Justice Systems, Emily B. Egart

Mitchell Hamline Law Review

No abstract provided.


Preventing Undeserved Punishment, Marah Stith Mcleod Dec 2023

Preventing Undeserved Punishment, Marah Stith Mcleod

Notre Dame Law Review

Defendants should not be punished more than they deserve. Sentencing scholars describe this precept against undeserved punishment as a consensus norm in American law and culture. Yet America faces a plague of mass incarceration, and many sanctions seem clearly undeserved, often far exceeding an offender’s culpability or the seriousness of an offense. How can a society committed to desert as a limitation on legitimate sanctions allow such undeserved punishments?

Critics argue increasingly that our focus on what offenders deserve is itself part of the problem. They claim that the notion of desert is too amorphous, malleable, and arbitrary to limit …


After The Criminal Justice System, Benjamin Levin Oct 2023

After The Criminal Justice System, Benjamin Levin

Washington Law Review

Since the 1960s, the “criminal justice system” has operated as the common label for a vast web of actors and institutions. But as critiques of mass incarceration have entered the mainstream, academics, activists, and advocates increasingly have stopped referring to the “criminal justice system.” Instead, they have opted for critical labels—the “criminal legal system,” the “criminal punishment system,” the “prison industrial complex,” and so on. What does this re-labeling accomplish? Does this change in language matter to broader efforts at criminal justice reform or abolition? Or does an emphasis on labels and language distract from substantive engagement with the injustices …


Racializing Algorithms, Jessica M. Eaglin Jun 2023

Racializing Algorithms, Jessica M. Eaglin

Articles by Maurer Faculty

There is widespread recognition that algorithms in criminal law’s administration can impose negative racial and social effects. Scholars tend to offer two ways to address this concern through law—tinkering around the tools or abolishing the tools through law and policy. This Article contends that these paradigmatic interventions, though they may center racial disparities, legitimate the way race functions to structure society through the intersection of technology and law. In adopting a theoretical lens centered on racism and the law, it reveals deeply embedded social assumptions about race that propel algorithms as criminal legal reform in response to mass incarceration. It …


Understanding Mass Incarceration In The Us Is The First Step To Reducing A Swollen Prison Population, Jeffrey Bellin Mar 2023

Understanding Mass Incarceration In The Us Is The First Step To Reducing A Swollen Prison Population, Jeffrey Bellin

Popular Media

No abstract provided.


Sentenced To Prison, Not To Death: Home Confinement During The Pandemic And Moving Beyond Covid-19, Sydney Mcconnell Feb 2023

Sentenced To Prison, Not To Death: Home Confinement During The Pandemic And Moving Beyond Covid-19, Sydney Mcconnell

Arkansas Law Review

A prison sentence should “not include incurring a great and unforeseen risk of severe illness or death.” But for the 2.3 million people housed in our nation’s prisons and jails during the COVID-19 (“COVID”) pandemic, their sentences have included just that. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Bureau of Prisons has transferred approximately 49,068 inmates to home confinement. The decision to expand home confinement is an important one. It is a step in the right direction to address another broader, and distinctly American, issue: mass incarceration. Lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle have reached the consensus “that …


Expanded Criminal Defense Lawyering, Jenny Roberts, Ronald Wright Sep 2022

Expanded Criminal Defense Lawyering, Jenny Roberts, Ronald Wright

Articles in Law Reviews & Other Academic Journals

This review collects and critiques the academic literature on criminal defense lawyering, with an emphasis on empirical work. Research on criminal defense attorneys in the United States has traditionally emphasized scarcity of resources: too many people facing criminal charges who are “too poor to pay” for counsel and not enough funding to pay for the constitutionally mandated lawyers. Scholars have focused on the capacity of different delivery systems, such as public defender offices, to change the ultimate outcomes in criminal cases within their tight budgetary constraints. Over the decades, however, theoretical understandings of the defense attorney’s work have expanded to …


Prosecutorial Nonenforcement And Residual Criminalization, Justin Murray Sep 2022

Prosecutorial Nonenforcement And Residual Criminalization, Justin Murray

Articles & Chapters

In recent years a small but influential group of locally elected prosecutors committed to criminal justice reform have openly refused to enforce various criminal laws—laws prohibiting marijuana possession, sentence enhancements, laws authorizing the death penalty, and much more—because they see those laws as unjust and incompatible with core reform objectives. Condemned by many on the political right for allegedly usurping the legislature’s lawmaking role and praised by many on the left for bypassing dysfunctional state legislatures in favor of local solutions, these prosecutorial nonenforcement policies are commonly said to have the same effect as nullifying, or even repealing, the laws …


The Democratizing Potential Of Algorithms?, Ngozi Okidegbe Mar 2022

The Democratizing Potential Of Algorithms?, Ngozi Okidegbe

Faculty Scholarship

Jurisdictions are increasingly embracing the use of pretrial risk assessment algorithms as a solution to the problem of mass pretrial incarceration. Conversations about the use of pretrial algorithms in legal scholarship have tended to focus on their opacity, determinativeness, reliability, validity, or their (in)ability to reduce high rates of incarceration as well as racial and socioeconomic disparities within the pretrial system. This Article breaks from this tendency, examining these algorithms from a democratization of criminal law perspective. Using this framework, it points out that currently employed algorithms are exclusionary of the viewpoints and values of the racially marginalized communities most …


The New Jim And Jane Crow Intersect: Challenges To Defending The Parental Rights Of Mothers During Incarceration, Carla Laroche Jan 2022

The New Jim And Jane Crow Intersect: Challenges To Defending The Parental Rights Of Mothers During Incarceration, Carla Laroche

Scholarly Articles

Family law scholars and advocates have expressed the importance of providing counsel to parents in the family regulation system, especially parents who are incarcerated, because of the system’s complexities. This article establishes, however, that when mothers must navigate both the family regulation and criminal legal systems, the protections appointed parents’ counsel are supposed to provide are weakened. These harms are heightened especially for Black mothers within the carceral state. As this article shows, appointed lawyers in family regulation cases cannot properly protect the due process rights of mothers who are incarcerated because of the added challenges both mothers and their …


Movement Constitutionalism, Brandon Hasbrouck Jan 2022

Movement Constitutionalism, Brandon Hasbrouck

Scholarly Articles

The white supremacy at the heart of the American criminal legal system works to control Black, Brown, and poor people through mass incarceration. Poverty and incarceration act in a vicious circle, with reactionaries mounting a desperate defense against any attempt to mitigate economic exploitation or carceral violence. Ending the cycle will require replacing this inequitable system with the life- and liberty-affirming institutions of abolition democracy. The path to abolition democracy is arduous, but abolitionists can press for change through what I coin “movement constitutionalism.” Movement constitutionalism is the process by which grassroots abolitionist movements shift—through demands and in solidarity with …


“Cancel Culture” And Criminal Justice, Steven Arrigg Koh Jan 2022

“Cancel Culture” And Criminal Justice, Steven Arrigg Koh

Faculty Scholarship

This Article explores the relationship between two normative systems in modern society: “cancel culture” and criminal justice. It argues that cancel culture—a ubiquitous phenomenon in contemporary life—may rectify deficiencies of over- and under-enforcement in the U.S. criminal justice system. However, the downsides of cancel culture’s structure—imprecise factfinding, potentially disproportionate sanctions leading to collateral consequences, a “thin” conception of the wrongdoer as beyond rehabilitation, and a broader cultural anxiety that “chills” certain human conduct—reflect problematic U.S. punitive impulses that characterize our era of mass incarceration. This Article thus argues that social media reform proposals obscure a deeper necessity: transcendence of blame …


The New Penal Bureaucrats, Shaun Ossei-Owusu Jan 2022

The New Penal Bureaucrats, Shaun Ossei-Owusu

All Faculty Scholarship

he protests of 2020 have jump-started conversations about criminal justice reform in the public and professoriate. Although there have been longstanding demands for reformation and re-imagining of the criminal justice system, recent calls have taken on a new urgency. Greater public awareness of racial bias, increasing visual evidence of state-sanctioned killings, and the televised policing of peaceful dissent have forced the public to reckon with a penal state whose brutality was comfortably tolerated. Scholars are publishing op-eds, policy proposals, and articles with rapidity, pointing to different factors and actors that produce the need for reform. However, one input has gone …


Decarceration's Inside Partners, Seema Saifee Jan 2022

Decarceration's Inside Partners, Seema Saifee

All Faculty Scholarship

This Article examines a hidden phenomenon in criminal punishment. People in prison, during their incarceration, have made important—and sometimes extraordinary—strides toward reducing prison populations. In fact, stakeholders in many corners, from policy makers to researchers to abolitionists, have harnessed legal and conceptual strategies generated inside the walls to pursue decarceral strategies outside the walls. Despite this outside use of inside moves, legal scholarship has directed little attention to theorizing the potential of looking to people on the inside as partners in the long-term project of meaningfully reducing prison populations, or “decarceration.”

Building on the change-making agency and revolutionary ideation inside …


Revocation And Retribution, Jacob Schuman Oct 2021

Revocation And Retribution, Jacob Schuman

Washington Law Review

Revocation of community supervision is a defining feature of American criminal law. Nearly 4.5 million people in the United States are on parole, probation, or supervised release, and 1/3 eventually have their supervision revoked, sending 350,000 to prison each year. Academics, activists, and attorneys warn that “mass supervision” has become a powerful engine of mass incarceration.

This is the first Article to study theories of punishment in revocation of community supervision, focusing on the federal system of supervised release. Federal courts apply a primarily retributive theory of revocation, aiming to sanction defendants for their “breach of trust.” However, the structure, …


Inside The Black Box Of Prosecutor Discretion, Megan S. Wright, Shima Baughman, Christopher Robertson Jul 2021

Inside The Black Box Of Prosecutor Discretion, Megan S. Wright, Shima Baughman, Christopher Robertson

Utah Law Faculty Scholarship

In their charging and bargaining decisions, prosecutors have unparalleled and nearly-unchecked discretion that leads to incarceration or freedom for millions of Americans each year. More than courts, legislators, or any other justice system player, in the aggregate prosecutors’ choices are the key drivers of outcomes, whether the rates of mass incarceration or the degree of racial disparities in justice. To date, there is precious little empirical research on how prosecutors exercise their breathtaking discretion. We do not know whether they consistently charge like cases alike or whether crime is in the eye of the beholder. We do not know what …


When We Breathe: Re-Envisioning Safety And Justice In A Post-Floyd Era, Aya Gruber Jan 2021

When We Breathe: Re-Envisioning Safety And Justice In A Post-Floyd Era, Aya Gruber

Publications

10th Annual David H. Bodiker Lecture on Criminal Justice delivered on Wed., Oct. 21, 2020 at Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.


Wage Theft Criminalization, Benjamin Levin Jan 2021

Wage Theft Criminalization, Benjamin Levin

Publications

Over the past decade, workers’ rights activists and legal scholars have embraced the language of “wage theft” in describing the abuses of the contemporary workplace. The phrase invokes a certain moral clarity: theft is wrong. The phrase is not merely a rhetorical flourish. Increasingly, it has a specific content for activists, politicians, advocates, and academics: wage theft speaks the language of criminal law, and wage theft is a crime that should be punished. Harshly. Self-proclaimed “progressive prosecutors” have made wage theft cases a priority, and left-leaning politicians in the United States and abroad have begun to propose more criminal statutes …


Crime And The Mythology Of Police, Shima Baughman Jan 2021

Crime And The Mythology Of Police, Shima Baughman

Utah Law Faculty Scholarship

The legal policing literature has espoused one theory of policing after another in an effort to address the frayed relationship between police and the communities they serve. All have aimed to diagnose chronic policing problems in working towards structural police reform. The core principles emanating from these theoretical critiques is that the mistrust of police among communities of color results from maltreatment, illegitimacy and marginalization from the law and its enforcers. Remedies have included police training to encourage treating people with dignity, investing in body cameras and other technology, providing legal avenues to encourage constitutional action by police, and creating …


No Path To Redemption: Evaluating Texas’S Practice Of Sentencing Kids To De Facto Life Without Parole In Adult Prison, Lindsey Linder, Justin Martinez Oct 2020

No Path To Redemption: Evaluating Texas’S Practice Of Sentencing Kids To De Facto Life Without Parole In Adult Prison, Lindsey Linder, Justin Martinez

The Scholar: St. Mary's Law Review on Race and Social Justice

Abstract forthcoming.


The Never-Ending Grasp Of The Prison Walls: Banning The Box On Housing Applications, Ashley De La Garza Oct 2020

The Never-Ending Grasp Of The Prison Walls: Banning The Box On Housing Applications, Ashley De La Garza

The Scholar: St. Mary's Law Review on Race and Social Justice

Abstract forthcoming.


Consensus Statement From The Santa Cruz Summit On Solitary Confinement And Health Aug 2020

Consensus Statement From The Santa Cruz Summit On Solitary Confinement And Health

Northwestern University Law Review

No abstract provided.


Mass Solitary And Mass Incarceration: Explaining The Dramatic Rise In Prolonged Solitary In America's Prisons, Jules Lobel Aug 2020

Mass Solitary And Mass Incarceration: Explaining The Dramatic Rise In Prolonged Solitary In America's Prisons, Jules Lobel

Northwestern University Law Review

In the last two decades of the twentieth century, prisons throughout the United States witnessed a dramatic rise in the use of solitary confinement, and the practice continues to be widespread. From the latter part of the nineteenth century until the 1970s and ’80s, prolonged solitary confinement in the United States had fallen into disuse, as numerous observers and the United States Supreme Court recognized that the practice caused profound mental harm to prisoners. The reasons for this dramatic rise in the nationwide use of solitary confinement and the development of new supermax prisons have not been explored in depth. …


A Wrong Without A Right? Overcoming The Prison Litigation Reform Act's Physical Injury Requirement In Solitary Confinement Cases, Maggie Filler, Daniel Greenfield Aug 2020

A Wrong Without A Right? Overcoming The Prison Litigation Reform Act's Physical Injury Requirement In Solitary Confinement Cases, Maggie Filler, Daniel Greenfield

Northwestern University Law Review

This Essay argues against applying the so-called “physical injury” requirement of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) to deny monetary compensation to solitary confinement survivors. The Essay identifies three ways in which misapplication of the PLRA’s physical injury requirement limits the ability of solitary confinement survivors to receive monetary compensation for psychological harm suffered. First, some courts applying the PLRA wrongly dismiss damages claims for alleging “de minimis” physical injury. Second, some courts have been reluctant to find that physical injury caused by psychological trauma satisfies the PLRA’s physical injury requirement. Third, courts do not distinguish between “garden …


Incrementalist Vs. Maximalist Reform: Solitary Confinement Case Studies, Margo Schlanger Aug 2020

Incrementalist Vs. Maximalist Reform: Solitary Confinement Case Studies, Margo Schlanger

Northwestern University Law Review

Among criminal justice reformers, it has long been hotly contested whether moderate reform helps or harms more efforts to achieve more thoroughgoing change. With respect to solitary confinement, do partial and ameliorative measures undermine the goal of solitary confinement abolition? Or do reformist campaigns advance—albeit incrementally—that ultimate goal? Call this a debate between “incrementalists” and “maximalists.” I offer this Essay as an appeal for empirical rather than aesthetic inquiry into the question. After summarizing nationwide reform litigation efforts that began in the 1970s, I try to shed some factual light by examining solitary reform efforts in two states, Massachusetts and …


How Do We Reach A National Tipping Point In The Campaign To Stop Solitary?, Amy Fettig Aug 2020

How Do We Reach A National Tipping Point In The Campaign To Stop Solitary?, Amy Fettig

Northwestern University Law Review

The use and abuse of solitary confinement in American prisons, jails, and juvenile detention centers is at epidemic levels. On any given day 80,000 to 100,000 people in prisons are subjected to a practice considered inhumane and degrading treatment—even torture under international human rights standards. Despite widespread international condemnation, decades of research demonstrating the harm it inflicts on human beings, and a growing chorus from the medical community raising alarms about its impact on the brain, solitary confinement remains a routine prison-management strategy in correctional institutions nationwide. In the past decade, however, a growing movement has emerged to challenge the …


Foreword, David M. Shapiro, Emily Mccormick, Annie Prossnitz Aug 2020

Foreword, David M. Shapiro, Emily Mccormick, Annie Prossnitz

Northwestern University Law Review

No abstract provided.


When They Hear Us: Race, Algorithms And The Practice Of Criminal Law, Ngozi Okidegbe Jul 2020

When They Hear Us: Race, Algorithms And The Practice Of Criminal Law, Ngozi Okidegbe

Faculty Scholarship

We are in the midst of a fraught debate in criminal justice reform circles about the merits of using algorithms. Proponents claim that these algorithms offer an objective path towards substantially lowering high rates of incarceration and racial and socioeconomic disparities without endangering community safety. On the other hand, racial justice scholars argue that these algorithms threaten to entrench racial inequity within the system because they utilize risk factors that correlate with historic racial inequities, and in so doing, reproduce the same racial status quo, but under the guise of scientific objectivity.

This symposium keynote address discusses the challenge that …


Understanding Violent-Crime Recidivism, J.J. Prescott, Benjamin Pyle, Sonja B. Starr May 2020

Understanding Violent-Crime Recidivism, J.J. Prescott, Benjamin Pyle, Sonja B. Starr

Articles

People convicted of violent crimes constitute a majority of the imprisoned population but are generally ignored by existing policies aimed at reducing mass incarceration. Serious efforts to shrink the large footprint of the prison system will need to recognize this fact. This point is especially pressing at the time of this writing, as states and the federal system consider large-scale prison releases motivated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Those convicted of violent crimes constitute a large majority of older prisoners, who are extremely vulnerable to the spread of the virus behind bars. Excluding them from protective measures will deeply undermine those …


State Prosecutors At The Center Of Mass Imprisonment And Criminal Justice Reform, Nora V. Demleitner Apr 2020

State Prosecutors At The Center Of Mass Imprisonment And Criminal Justice Reform, Nora V. Demleitner

Scholarly Articles

State prosecutors around the country have played a crucial role in mass imprisonment. Little supervision and virtually unsurpassed decision making power have provided them with unrivaled influence over the size, growth, and composition of our criminal justice system. They decide which cases to prosecute, whether to divert a case, whether to offer a plea, and what sentence to recommend. Their impact does not stop at sentencing. They weigh in on alternative dockets, supervision violations, parole release, and even clemency requests. But they are also part of a larger system that constrains them. Funding, judicial limits on their power, and legislative …