Save 40% with UC Press at 2018 Western Society of Criminology Conference

The 2018 WSC Conference convenes February 1 – 3 in Long Beach, CA. Senior Editor Maura Roessner will be in attendance; email or contact her @Maura_R if you’d like to learn more about working with her to become a UC Press author or reviewer.  #missiondriven

See Maura with #WSC2018 President Hadar Aviram and author Valerie Jenness at 3:30pm today as they discuss “From Scholarship to Impact” at the presidential plenary.

And see Susan F. Turner on Saturday at 12:45pm as she discusses “Lifer Reentry and Community Reintegration: An Analysis of Paroled Lifers in Los Angeles.”

You can check out the following UC Press titles in Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Law and Society with books that focus on incarceration, corrections, policing, gender, immigration, school to prison pipeline, and much more. And read more from our authors such as WSC President Hadar Aviram, Nikki Jones, Patrick Lopez-Aguado, and much more.

Save 40% online with discount code 17E2829, or request an exam copy for consideration to use in your upcoming classes.

Save 40% with UC Press during the 2017 Western Society of Criminology Conference

The 2017 WSC conference convenes February 9 – 11 in Las Vegas, NV. Senior Editor Maura Roessner will be in attendance if you’d like to learn more about working with her to become a UC Press author or reviewer. #WSC2017

Check out the following UC Press titles in Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Law and Society with books that focus on incarceration, corrections, policing, gender, immigration, school to prison pipeline, and much more. And read more from our authors such as Hadar Aviram, Barbara Owen, Molly Dragiewicz, and much more.

Save 40% online with discount code 16E8104, or request an exam copy for consideration to use in your upcoming classes. The discount code expires February 2, 2017.


Human Rights Day: A Focus on Prison Reform

Today is Human Rights Day, which commemorates the day on which, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

We felt moved to turn this year’s focus on prisoner’s rights after the African American Intellectual History Society just released their Prison Abolition Syllabus, which highlights prison organizing and prison abolitionist efforts, from the 13th Amendment’s rearticulation of slavery to current resistance to mass incarceration, solitary confinement, and prison labor exploitation. Several UC Press titles are featured on the syllabus, which you can browse below:

The United States has the highest incarceration rates in the world. Just yesterday TIME released an incarceration report stating that 39% of prisoners should not be in prison. In the book Incarcerating the Crisis, which is included in the syllabus, and in a recent post on our blog, author Jordan Camp argues that the roots of the carceral crisis to the rise of neoliberal capitalism.

And overcrowding, violence, sexual abuse, and other conditions pose grave risks to prisoner health and safety, coupled with the mistreatment of prisoners based on race, sex, gender identity, or disability. Terry Kupers, author of the forthcoming UC Press book Solitary (publishing Fall 2017), discussed ADX-Florence, the “supermax” prison in Florence, Colorado known for its use of solitary confinement as a way to manage mental illness, with WNYC this week while law expert Hadar Aviram, whose book Cheap on Crime is also included in the syllabus, recently spoke with the Los Angeles Times about how California’s promises to speed up the death penalty are impossible to meet.

Tens of thousands of prisoners are held in long-term isolated confinement in “supermax” prisons and similar facilities. The devastating effects of such treatment, particularly on people with mental illness, are well known.

In addition to the above listed titles, we recommend the following titles to round out your reading:

Cheap on Crime

by Hadar Aviram, author of Cheap on Crime: Recession-Era Politics and the Transformation of American Punishment

This guest post is published in advance of the American Sociological Association conference in Seattle. Check back every week for new posts through the end of the conference on August 23rd.

What are the major changes in criminal justice since the Great Recession of 2008?

For the last forty years, the American correctional system has been a growing—and costly—machine involving 2.3 million lives behind bars and millions more under correctional supervision. But in the late 2000s, around the time of the Great Recession, some things started to change. 2009 was the first year, after decades of growth, that saw the national incarceration rates decline. In some ways, nothing much has happened: not all states reduced their incarceration rates and we still have a long way to go. But several states have reformed their sentencing regime, several have abolished the death penalty or introduced moratoria on its application, and several states have started rethinking the war on drugs by legalizing recreational marijuana. In Cheap on Crime, I examine the new conversation around these reforms in the aftermath of the financial crisis and identify four main features of this new discourse: heavy reliance on bipartisan arguments surrounding costs and savings, the creations of new, bipartisan coalitions advocating financial prudence, the search for new practices for savings in both the public and private correctional sector, and a change in our attitude toward inmates, from wards of the states to consumers of products or burdens on the economy.

What are the advantages and drawbacks of relying on cost and savings as a catalyst for reform?

One advantage is obvious: the cost conversation has broken the impasse between tough­-on-­crime conservatives and human rights advocates by introducing a rationale that everyone can relate to, which has led to some progress on issues that had been stuck for many years. The Achilles heel of the cost conversation is that it is possible to maintain a criminal justice system that is “tough ‘n’ cheap,” and that savings also mean serious cuts to rehabilitation and re-entry programs. The other serious concern is that savings-­related correctional reform can be reversed as the economy improves, which I argue is more likely in some areas (like incarceration rates, privatization, and out-of-state incarceration) than in others (death penalty abolition, drug decriminalization/legalization.)

Where should we go from here?

The worst of the recession is behind us and the economy is improving, and it would make sense to retool our conversation about savings from a reliance on emergency measures and cuts to thinking about the need for returns on investment. Long­-term savings on incarceration should include the closing of the revolving prison door, especially where disempowered and disenfranchised communities are involved. This requires prisons that are actually equipped for—and incentivized to provide—rehabilitation and a robust reentry network for formerly incarcerated people. Since prison has proven a failure in crime prevention, we need to provide it where it matters—in the community—and only then will we truly realize the potential, tangible and intangible, of investing in effective and humane corrections.

Aviram.Hadar.photoHadar Aviram is Professor of Law at University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where she co-directs the Hastings Institute for Criminal Justice and publishes the California Correctional Crisis blog. She lives in San Francisco.

Cheap on Crime

by Hadar Aviram

In 2009, for the first time in almost forty years, the total number of inmates in the United states declined—a trend that persists since then. Six states have recently abolished the death penalty. Two states have legalized marijuana for recreational use. Prisons are closing down; states are reconsidering their sentencing regimes; old and infirm inmates are experiencing early releases; and politicians of all stripes, for whom appearing “soft on crime” could spell a career disaster are sponsoring bipartisan bills to scale back drug policies. Have we come to the conclusion the the war on crime has failed? And if not, what is going on?

In my book, Cheap on Crime: Recession-Era Politics and the Transformation of American PunishmentI examine the ways in which the Great Recession of 2008 has reshaped the American correctional landscape. The book takes on two opposite predictions: those of Marxist social historians, who believe that hard times would lead to more public punitiveness and oppression aimed at the poor and weak members of society, and those of public choice economists, who would predict that we can only punish as much as we can afford. I come to the conclusion that both predictions are right, and actually not contradictory.

The recession has given rise to a new penological discourse, which I call “humonetarianism”—a set of justifications for non-punitive policies from a perspective of cost and financial prudence. The book examines the footprint of humonetarianism in a variety of correctional areas over the last few years: the transformation of death penalty discourse, away from human rights and racial discrimination concern and toward savings; the Obama administration’s retreat from severe drug policies, accompanied by state and local initiatives to legalize, relax enforcement, cut sentencing, and achieve a truce in the drug way; the way private prison companies and public correctional authorities both respond to a leaner market–by lobbying, negotiating, and diversifying their investment away from domestic inmates and toward undocumented immigrants; and the ways in which humonetarianism has produced a new perception of the offender—less a “ward” of the state and more of a “consumer” of its resources–which leads to special attention to the old and the infirm as well as “pay to stay” regimes that roll the costs of incarceration onto the inmates themselves.

Some of these developments are, indeed, benign, and have achieved reforms that could not be achieved on human rights grounds before the recession; some of them are disconcerting. What’s more, the political enthusiasm for these austerity-driven reforms may wane when the economy improves. The book provides not only an overview of these developments, but also an effort to predict which of them will outlast the economic crisis.

Hadar Aviram is Professor of Law, University of California Hastings College of the Law. She co-chairs the Hastings Institute for Criminal Justice and publishes the California Correctional Crisis blog. Hadar Aviram will present her book, Cheap on Crime: Recession-Era Politics and the Transformation of American Punishment, at ASA on Tuesday, August 19th, from 12:30-2:10, as part of the panel Law in Hard Times: Economic Inequality and the Law.