Wednesday, December 27, 2017

20th Anniversary Issue of Punishment & Society

Punishment & Society, arguably the founding journal of our field, has just published its 20th Anniversary issue featuring a host of great articles:

Punishment & Society
Volume 20, Issue 1, January 2018
20th Anniversary Special Issue

Introduction: 20th anniversary special issue
Mona Lynch, Kelly Hannah-Moffat
First Published December 21, 2017; pp. 3–7

Theoretical advances and problems in the sociology of punishment
David Garland
First Published December 21, 2017; pp. 8–33

Punishment, globalization and migration control: ‘Get them the hell out of here’
Mary Bosworth, Katja Franko, Sharon Pickering
First Published December 21, 2017; pp. 34–53

Reimagining the sociology of punishment through the global-south: postcolonial social control and modernization discontents
David S Fonseca
First Published December 7, 2017; pp. 54–72

Punitive turn and justice cascade: Mutual inspiration from Punishment and Society and human rights literatures
Joachim J Savelsberg
First Published December 21, 2017; pp. 73–91

Theoretical and empirical limits of Scandinavian Exceptionalism: Isolation and normalization in Danish prisons
Keramet Reiter, Lori Sexton, Jennifer Sumner
First Published December 21, 2017; pp. 92–112

Digital degradation: Stigma management in the internet age
Sarah E Lageson, Shadd Maruna
First Published December 21, 2017; pp. 113–133

Risky business, risk assessment, and other heteronormative misnomers in women’s community corrections and reentry planning
Erin M Kerrison
First Published December 21, 2017; pp. 134–151

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Speaker Series: Lageson, Criminal Records as Big Data Commodity (January 18, 2-3:30 EST)

We are pleased to announce our first installment of the P&S Digital Speaker Series:

Punishment & Society CRN Digital Speaker Series

Thursday, January 18, 2:00-3:30 EST
(Instructions for watching the talk online forthcoming)

Sarah Lageson, Rutgers University

“Criminal Records as Big Data Commodity”

New forms of digital criminal record data collection and generous FOIA and First Amendment interpretations have allowed criminal records to transform into a valuable commodity. Data brokers aggressively pursue law enforcement, court, and correctional data, then repackage and sell it to a growing class of criminal record consumers. Taking a field approach, this study traces the development of relationships between criminal justice agencies and data brokers. Analyses of internal and public documents and interviews with data brokers show how this work is framed through cultural values of tech efficiency and transparency, and as a consumer friendly alternative to bureaucratic and inefficient government. By collating and synthesizing public records, these companies create markets of criminal record consumers and sell criminal record data as commodity. Ultimately, this wide scale embrace of open records by media and the courts have more firmly guided U.S. criminal record policy than due process, privacy and liberty values.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Members' Publications

As compiled by Miltonette Craig:

December 2017


Campbell, Michael C., and Matt Vogel. (2017). The Demographic Divide: Population Dynamics and the Rise of Mass Incarceration in the United States. Punishment and Society. DOI: 10.1177/1462474517734166. [Access it here]

De Giorgi, Alessandro. (2017). Back to Nothing: Prisoner Reentry and Neoliberal Neglect. Social Justice, 44(1), 83-120. [Access it here]

Jiang, Jize, and Kuang Kai. (2018, Forthcoming). Hukou Status and Sentencing in the Wake of Internal Migration: The Penalty Effect of Being Rural-to-Urban Migrants in China. Law & Policy.

Kerrison, Erin M. (2017). An Historical Review of Racial Bias in Prison-Based Substance Abuse Treatment Design. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 56(8), 567-592. [Access it here]

Kerrison, Erin M. (2017). Exploring How Prison-Based Drug Rehabilitation Programming Shapes Racial Disparities in Substance Use Disorder Recovery. Social Science & Medicine.  DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.08.002. [Access it here]

Kerrison, Erin M., Jennifer Cobbina, and Kimberly Bender. (2017). “Your Pants Won’t Save You”: Why Black Youth Challenge Race-Based Police Surveillance and the Demands of Black Respectability Politics. Race and Justice. DOI: 10.1177/2153368717734291. [Access it here]

Rubin, Ashley T., and Keramet Reiter. (2017). Continuity in the Face of Penal Innovation: Revisiting the History of American Solitary Confinement. Law & Social Inquiry. DOI: 10.1111/lsi.12330. [Access it here]

Rubin, Ashley T., and Michelle S. Phelps. (2017). Fracturing the “Penal State”: State Actors and the Role of Conflict in Penal Change. Theoretical Criminology, 21(4), 422-440. [Access it here]

Werth, Robert, and Andrea Ballestero. (2017). Ethnography and the Governance of Il/Legality: Some Methodological and Analytical Reflections. Social Justice, 44(1), 10-35. [Access it here]

Xenakis, Sappho, and Leonidas K. Cheliotis. (2018, In Press). Whither Neoliberal Penality? The Past, Present and Future of Imprisonment in the US. Punishment & Society.


Barker, Vanessa. (2017). Nordic Nationalism and Penal Order: Walling the Welfare State. New York: Routledge. [More information here]

Durand, Corentin, Hugues de Suremain, and Nicolas Ferran. (2017). “The European Oversight of France.” In Gaëtan Cliquennois and Hugues de Suremain (Eds.), Monitoring Penal Policy in Europe. Abingdon: Routledge. [More information here]

Owens, Emily, Erin M. Kerrison, and Bernardo Santos Da Silveira. (2017). Examining Racial Disparities in Criminal Case Outcomes among Indigent Defendants in San Francisco. Full Report. Philadelphia: Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice, University of Pennsylvania Law School. [More information here]

Werth, Robert (Special Issue Editor). (2017). Ethnographic Explorations of Punishment and the Governance of Security. Social Justice, 44(1). [More information here]

If you would like your recently published book or article to be included in the next digest,

please send your citation information to Miltonette Craig ( by January 31.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Male Jealousy & Questions of Sexual Honor: A Look at Historical Cases of Domestic Murder in Ireland (Reposted from Nursing Clio)

Lynsey Black recently published a great blog post, "Male Jealousy & Questions of Sexual Honor: A Look at Historical Cases of Domestic Murder in Ireland," the first three paragraphs of which follow:
At present in Ireland, a Domestic Violence Bill is rumbling its way through the Irish parliament, a welcome albeit overdue development. Louise Crowley has noted that failures to enshrine domestic violence as a discrete criminal offense have gone hand-in-hand with Ireland’s historic reluctance to intervene in such cases. A look at gendered violence in Ireland, focusing on historical cases of domestic murder, can help illustrate the contours of gender. Investigating cases of men who were convicted of murdering women from motives attributed to jealousy can reveal Irish societal attitudes to sexual honor and women’s sexuality. 
My research focuses on the period 1864 to 1914. In this 51-year span, I have so far identified eleven cases in which men were convicted of the murder of a female partner in circumstances that were explicitly understood through the motive of jealousy. The research project is ongoing, and further research may reveal other cases in which jealousy was present as a less overt motivation. 
However, what is clear so far is that these cases exist against a backdrop of violence against women — in the 51-year period, 28 men in total were convicted of the murder of a wife, a number of other men murdered unmarried partners, while other cases reveal sexually-motivated killings. In a majority of cases in which men killed partners, there was a history of domestic violence in the relationship; within this context, jealousy was a common trigger for violent behavior.
For more, see the full post at Nursing Clio.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

What is Criminology? Who is a Criminologist?

Today marks the end of the annual meeting of the American Society of Criminology. Even before this week, though, I've been thinking a lot about criminology, its meaning, and who/what it includes. As an interdisciplinary scholar, academic labels mean a lot to me. At JSP, it was drilled into us that we need to demonstrate our disciplinary identity: interdisciplinary scholars often have to "prove" they "are" a sociologist, political scientist, historian, etc. and sometimes get left in the margins when they fail to make this case, falling through the interstices of competing fields. Criminology is an interdisciplinary discipline---some programs more than others---but this issue of identity still matters.

Living in Canada has also made me question my understanding of criminology. For many reasons, the Canadian academe is much more internationally aware than the American academe: as members of the British Commonwealth, Canadians have more contact with British, Australian, and New Zealander thought and developments. As in many countries, Canadians are also more likely to read American journals *and* their own countries journals, whereas in the US, one might read a British journal regularly, but not much else beyond American journals. Consequently, there are different perspectives than one finds in American academic work alone and, as a further consequence, the same terms and fields have different meanings and theories. Notably, the definition---or at least understanding and content---of criminology is different in Canada: there is a much bigger emphasis on critical perspectives (critical criminology is huge in Canada), so there is a lot of feminist, colonial/post-colonial, critical race, Indigenous, and other perspectives not found in mainstream American criminology. With a stronger influence from the Continent and Great Britain, there is also a more (or different) theoretical orientation. Americans, I have learned, have a particular understanding of theory and methods that is different from the Continental approach, although I've not yet been able to articulate this difference. (For now, think how Foucault is different from, say, Rothman in their approaches to prison history. Both are great (and limited) in their own way, but the two men might have a very interesting discussion about what they mean by theory and how they use evidence or why they care about the prison as a social artifact.) From an American perspective, one might say the Canadian/British/Continental approach is less rigorous, but that would be unfair and American-centric; from a Canadian or British perspective, American ideas might be considered narrow, simplistic, and even naive.

Finally, as I start to accumulate experiences and a stronger understanding of myself, I've realized I'm rather curmudgeonly when it comes to the specificity of academic language, whether we are discussing the over-application of "resistance," the multiple definitions and uses of the "carceral state," or my annoyance at people who call Eastern State Penitentiary a supermax. So it might not be surprising that I've started to get frustrated with the term "criminology." It is probably inaccurate and unfair to say that criminology is a more heterogeneous field than, say, sociology, but it at least strikes me that way. Consequently, it seems problematic to have one catchall term for this diverse field. While some people welcome or rebuff the label for themselves, it would be useful to come up with more specific terms for diverse subfields within criminology---particularly so that those who get labeled criminologists can at least clarify what type of criminology they do. Indeed, we have already seen a distinction created with the branching off of Critical Criminology, which has its own section in the ASC.

Many of us (readers of this blog, or at least those at whom this blog is aimed) do not identify as criminologists even if we attend the ASC or work in criminology departments. (I for one self-identify as a law and society scholar, but I also use/do history and sociology; because I study punishment, though, I am often seen as a criminologist, as are many others in our little subfield.) Whether we like it or not, much of our research is advertised by publishers as criminology titles. Our two main subfield journals are Punishment & Society and Theoretical Criminology. So it is difficult to escape the label---and it is not clear how strategic it is to fight the label.

Part of our unease with this labeling (to the extent it exists for others) may stem from the official definition of criminology as "the scientific study of crime and criminals" (according to Google). We do not study crime and criminals; we study society's response to, or treatment of, these socially constructed categories; said differently, many of us study the relationship between punishment and society. Thus, we have adopted Punishment and Society as a label to identify us as a group.

But Punishment & Society is also a problematic label, as it gives an unclear status to some scholars who very clearly fit inside our tent: for example, policing scholars, scholars of urban spaces, scholars looking at things that are not officially punishment but sure seem like punishment, scholars studying courts, scholars studying changes in criminal laws, etc. We could make the somewhat awkward explanation that these are all still "punishment scholars" because they are studying the processes that lead to or result from punishment. But punishment might not be their ultimate concern, so it is unfair of those of us who are more clearly concerned with "punishment proper" to centralize our interests in a collective label. (Punishment & Social Control might be more accurate, but others have raised problems with the "social control" portion of this label, so even if it makes it a bigger tent, it raises other demons.)

In this post, I would like to offer a preliminary attempt to impose some greater precision on what we mean by criminology to avoid conflating quite different normative and epistemic projects. Specifically, I propose that we begin using the terms techno-criminology, socio-criminology, and (adopting the existing term) critical criminology. (I'm avoiding other existing terms like "mainstream criminology" or, for reasons discussed above, "Punishment and Society.") Below, I lay out what I see as the essential differences between these subfields of criminology. I want to emphasize that these are something of ideal types and that there will be exceptions. It is also the case that scholars sometimes straddle these subfields or seamlessly move back and forth between them. Thus, while one person might be only a socio-criminologist, another might be a socio-criminologist at times and spend varying amounts of time as a techno- or critical criminologist. Finally, although I see myself in the socio-criminologist category, and obviously favor that approach, I do not mean to suggest any of the subfields are better or worse than the others---instead, each one pursues a different project with different assumptions, expectations, goals, etc. Socio-criminologists might analyze techno-criminologists, and critical criminologists might offer critiques of both other fields, and techno-criminologists might dismiss the two other fields as misguided or irrelevant. (Might!) But each has its own project and it is important to evaluate these subfields/projects on their own terms---if we wish to evaluate them at all (we might not---live and let live). For now, I simply want to impose conceptual clarity. Along the way, I hope not to mischaracterize any of these subfields---obviously, I know less about techno- and critical criminology, so I will be prone to misstatements for which I preemptively apologize.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

New Book of Interest!

Vanessa Barker's Nordic Nationalism and Penal Order: Walling the Welfare State (Routledge, 2018)
In late summer 2015, Sweden embarked on one of the largest self-described humanitarian efforts in its history, opening its borders to 163,000 asylum seekers fleeing the war in Syria. Six months later this massive effort was over. On January 4, 2016, Sweden closed its border with Denmark. This closure makes a startling reversal of Sweden’s open borders to refugees and contravenes free movement in the Schengen Area, a founding principle of the European Union. What happened? This book sets out to explain this reversal.

In her new and compelling book, Vanessa Barker explores the Swedish case study to challenge several key paradigms for understanding penal order in the twenty-first century and makes an important contribution to our understanding of punishment and welfare states. She questions the dominance of neoliberalism and political economy as the main explanation for the penalization of others, migrants and foreign nationals, and develops an alternative theoretical framework based on the internal logic of the welfare state and democratic theory about citizenship, incorporation, and difference, paying particular attention to questions of belonging, worthiness, and ethnic and gender hierarchies. Her book develops the concept of penal nationalism as an important form of penal power in the twenty-first century, providing a bridge between border control and punishment studies.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

New Special Issue of Theoretical Criminology of Interest

New Special Issue on the state of the State (Guest Editors Vanessa Barker and Lisa Miller)

Introduction to the special issue on the state of the State
Vanessa Barker, Lisa L Miller
First Published October 25, 2017; pp. 417–421


Fracturing the penal state: State actors and the role of conflict in penal change
Ashley Rubin, Michelle S Phelps
First Published October 25, 2017; pp. 422–440

Penal power at the border: Realigning state and nation
Vanessa Barker
First Published October 25, 2017; pp. 441–457

‘The constitution of political membership’: Punishment, political membership, and the Italian case
Zelia Gallo
First Published October 25, 2017; pp. 458–477

Black women, victimization, and the limitations of the liberal state
Shatema Threadcraft, Lisa L Miller
First Published October 25, 2017; pp. 478–493

“What citizens can see of the state”: Police and the construction of democratic citizenship in Latin America
Yanilda María González
First Published October 25, 2017; pp. 494–511

What’s in a name and why it matters: A historical analysis of the relationship between state authority, vigilantism and penal power in South Africa
Gail Super
First Published October 25, 2017; pp. 512–531

Carceral Citizenship: Race, Rights and Responsibility in the Age of Mass Supervision
Reuben Jonathan Miller, Forrest Stuart
First Published October 25, 2017; pp. 532–548

Book reviews for the state of the State Special Issue

Liberal guilt? The political origins of US mass incarceration
Dominic Aitken
First Published October 25, 2017; pp. 549–553

Book Review: Judah Schept, Progressive Punishment: Job Loss, Jail Growth, and the Neoliberal Logic of Carceral Expansion
Michelle S Phelps
First Published October 25, 2017; pp. 554–556

Book Review: Daniel LaChance, Executing Freedom: The Cultural Life of Capital Punishment in the United States
Bailey Socha
First Published October 25, 2017; pp. 556–558

Book Review: Chris Cunneen and Juan Tauri, Indigenous Criminology
Leanne Weber
First Published October 25, 2017; pp. 558–561

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Op-Ed by Heather Schoenfeld: Louisiana sheriff’s comments reflect more than racism

Reposted from Injustice Today:
At a press conference on October 5th, Sheriff Steve Prator of Caddo Parish, Louisiana decried the state’s new policy that would lead to the release of some prisoners in the upcoming months. Sheriff Prator’s comments that the reforms would contribute to the release of “good” prisoners as well as “bad ones” have been roundly critiqued for “evoking slavery,” and the century-old legacy in Southern states of leasing black prisoners for profit. In fact, his comments also evoked more recent history. During the 1980s and 1990s, as the prison population dramatically expanded in many southern states, officials began to market prison labor as an economic boon to rural communities. Their actions reflected the absence of any serious policy discussion about the purpose of incarceration, besides warehousing offenders, or about what prisoners should do while serving their sentences.
The tradition of using prisoners as cheap or free labor for Southern communities is a long one. It grew out of a commonly held belief, in the aftermath of the Civil War, that former slaves would not work unless compelled or coerced and from the desire by local officials to maintain a cheap supply of labor. These beliefs led to the enactment of racist laws and practices that criminalized black Americans, who could then be forced to work without compensation. What began as convict leasing to private companies, eventually turned into labor for the state — growing crops, building roads, and constructing and maintaining public facilities (including prisons themselves). As detailed in my forthcoming book, Building the Prison State, the Florida Division of Corrections classified prisoners by their ability to work, not their security level until the 1960’s. Grade 1 prisoners were physically fit for any assignment; Grade 2 prisoners had a “slight defect, such as age, but were otherwise physically fit”; Grade 3 prisoners had “extensive physical disability, able to do only light work”; and Grade 4 prisoners were physically “unfit,” unable to do productive labor.
As Southern prison systems became more centralized and bureaucratized in the mid-20th century, prisons began providing other activities for prisoners, including education, recreation, and rehabilitative programming. Not coincidentally, the proportion of white prisoners in Southern prisons also increased. Yet work assignments — whether for private industry or the state — remained a crucial part of the prison experience.
Beginning in the 1980s, as the incarcerated population in Southern states rapidly increased, prisons there became dangerously overcrowded. By the end of that decade, state legislators voted to build new prisons in order to comply with federal court orders that found Southern prison systems unconstitutional for overcrowding and inadequate medical care. Yet officials faced stiff opposition to locating new prisons in their communities from much of the public, who considered them to be “undesirable land uses.” In response to this opposition, the Florida Department of Corrections and the governor’s office began a concerted marketing campaign to “sell” prisons to economically struggling rural communities in the northern part of the state. One of the big selling points to these communities was that prisoners could complete local public works projects at practically no cost. In addition, the state minimized the cost of prison expansion to taxpayers by using inmate labor to build and maintain new prisons. The marketing worked. County commissioners, sheriffs and state legislators began to welcome new prisons. Today, local officials in many Florida communities that house prisons will point — often with pride — at the parks, roadways, buildings and other projects that prisoners helped build.
During the 1990s, states and the federal government built approximately 170 new prisons in Southern rural towns. Yet, despite this influx, there were no coinciding policy discussions (let alone consensus) among state officials about what, exactly, prisoners should be doing while serving their sentences.
This question of how prisoners should spend their time is closely related to changing notions during the past century of the purpose of incarceration. During the first part of the 20th century, progressive experiments aside, the answer in most of the country was for prisoners to “work” so as to “normalize” the offender as a productive laborer. By the mid-20th century, that consensus had evolved into theories that prisoners should combine work with education in order to increase their prospects of becoming rehabilitated. By the 1990’s, during the heyday of “mass incarceration,” many politicians, victims’ rights organizations and law enforcement groups completely rejected the notion that prisons should be used to help rehabilitate inmates. Rather, they advocated not just to lock more people up, but to make their experience in prison as miserable as possible. Congress and President Clinton stripped prisoners of the ability to receive Pell Grants. State legislators attempted to take televisions and weight-equipment out of the state prisons and defunded correctional education. However, the expectation that prisoners work has remained constant. Corrections departments across the country routinely report the high percentage of prisoners with work assignments and often recount the benefits of this work to the state.
Today, the costs of maintaining such high rates of imprisonment have become unsustainable to many states. By 2011, states spent an estimated $52 billionon their corrections systems — 1 in 14 state general fund dollars. The state prison in Sheriff Prator’s parish closed in 2012 as a result of state budget cuts. Reformers around the country are advocating for legislation that will keep some non-violent offenders out of prison. These proposed reforms effectively put rural communities and political officials who gain from prison expansion on notice because they will deplete the supply of underpaid labor. It is hardly surprising then that Sheriff Prator and others would oppose the release of prisoners — particularly those that serve the economic needs of their communities.
The efforts of criminal justice reformers advocating for a reduction in our nation’s prison population would be strengthened by a frank acknowledgement of the economic benefits derived by rural communities from the placement of prisons. While the extent of the economic impact of prisons is debated, by bringing up this history, they can encourage an important and all-too rare public conversation about the economics of prisons. It is important for legislators, and the public, to connect these economic factors to broader discussions about what prisoners should be doing when incarcerated and, relatedly, to the overall purpose of prisons today.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Members' Publications

As compiled by Miltonette Craig: 

October 2017


Andraka-Christou, Barbara. (2017). What Is “Treatment” For Opioid Addiction in Problem-Solving Courts? A Study of 20 Indiana Drug and Veterans Courts. Stanford Journal of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, 18(2), 189-254. [Access it here]

Dawe Meghan, and Philip Goodman. (2017). Conservative Politics, Sacred Cows, and Sacrificial Lambs: The (Mis)Use of Evidence in Canada’s Political and Penal Fields. Canadian Review of Sociology, 54(2), 129-146. [Access it here]

Kang, Timothy, Candace Kruttschnitt, and Philip Goodman. (2017, Forthcoming). Multi-Method Synergy: Using the Life-History Calendar and Life as a Film for Retrospective Narratives. Howard Journal of Crime and Justice.

Mears, Daniel, Miltonette Craig, Eric Stewart, and Patricia Warren. (2017). Thinking Fast, Not Slow: How Cognitive Biases May Contribute to Racial Disparities in the Use of Force in Police-Citizen Encounters. Journal of Criminal Justice, 53, 12-24. [Access it here]

Reiter, Keramet, and Susan Bibler Coutin. (2017). Crossing Borders and Criminalizing Identity: The Disintegrated Subjects of Administrative Sanctions. Law and Society Review, 51(3), 567-601. [Access it here]

Sykes, Bryan, Anjuli Verma, and Black Hawk Hancock. (2017). Aligning Sampling and Case Selection in Quantitative-Qualitative Research Designs: Establishing Generalizability Limits in Mixed-Method Studies. Ethnography. DOI: 10.1177/1466138117725341 [Access it here]

Werth, Robert. (2017). Book Review: On the Parole Board: Reflections on Crime, Punishment, Redemption and Justice, by Frederic Reamer. Punishment & Society. DOI: 10.1177/1462474517731736 [Access it here]


Goodman, Philip, Joshua Page, and Michelle Phelps. (2017). Breaking the Pendulum: The Long Struggle Over Criminal Justice. New York: Oxford University Press. [More info here]

If you would like your recently published book or article to be included in the next digest,

please send your citation information to Miltonette Craig ( by November 30.