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NCJ Number: 238068 Find in a Library
Title: Prison Is an Outlaw Institution
Journal: Howard Journal of Criminal Justice  Volume:51  Issue:1  Dated:February 2012  Pages:1-15
Author(s): Loic Wacquant
Date Published: February 2012
Page Count: 15
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This paper is a response to issues raised in the author's book "Prisons of Poverty."
Abstract: This discussion of Les Prisons de la misère (Raisons d'agir Editions, Paris, 1999 – expanded and updated English-language edition, Prisons of Poverty, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 2009) responds to queries put forth by the editors of R de réel and originally published in French in that journal in June 2000 (vol. 3, pp.33–8). It argues that the carceral boom in the United States results from the penalization of poverty correlative of the simultaneous revamping of the economic, welfare and justice missions of the state. Pro-market think tanks have played a driving role in fashioning and diffusing America's ‘punitive common sense’ across the Atlantic, thus accelerating the import of aggressive crime rhetorics and policies in Western Europe by political elites (including Left governments) seduced by neoliberal ideology. But, while the prison purports to enforce the law and to curtail the disorders generated by economic deregulation, the recent French experience confirms that its very organization and daily operation make it an outlaw institution. It is promoted as a remedy for criminal insecurity and urban marginality, but it only serves to concentrate and intensify both, even as it makes them temporarily invisible. To get out of the policy and civic impasse into which the penalization of poverty leads contemporary societies, one must raise anew the quintessentially political question of the purpose(lessness) of incarceration at century's dawn. (Published Abstract)
Main Term(s): Corrections policies
Index Term(s): Crime control policies; Effects of imprisonment; Incarceration; Poverty and crime; Social conditions; Social control
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