Episodes
Throughout US history, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people have been pathologized, victimized, and criminalized. Reports of lynching, burning, or murdering of LGBTQ people have been documented for centuries. Prior to the 1970s, LGBTQ people were deemed as having psychological disorders and subsequently subject to electroshock therapy and other ineffective and cruel treatments. LGBTQ people have historically been arrested or imprisoned for crimes like sodomy,...
Published 07/14/24
In recent years, a searching national conversation has called attention to the social and racial injustices that define America’s criminal system. The incarceration of vast numbers of people, and the punitive treatment of African Americans in particular, are targets of widespread criticism. But despite the election of progressive prosecutors in several cities and the passage of reform legislation at the local, state, and federal levels, the system remains very much intact. How can the damage...
Published 07/09/24
In Law and Personality Disorder: Human Rights, Human Risks, and Rehabilitation (Oxford UP, 2024), Dr Ailbhe O'Loughlin considers the controversial and under-researched concern of what to do with dangerous people with severe personality disorders. She brings together scientific evidence, law and policy, to consider risk prevention, public security and human rights. This is a controversial area of law and policy, informed by ongoing debates about 'dangerous' offenders which exists at the...
Published 07/03/24
In recent years, dozens of counties in North Carolina have partnered with federal law enforcement in the criminalization of immigration--what many have dubbed "crimmigration." Southern border enforcement still monopolizes the national immigration debate, but immigration enforcement has become common within the United States as well. While Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operations are a major part of American immigration enforcement, Felicia Arriaga maintains that ICE relies on an...
Published 06/30/24
Is involuntary psychiatric treatment the solution to the intertwined crises of untreated mental illness, homelessness, and addiction? In recent years, politicians and advocates have sought to expand the use of conservatorships, a legal tool used to force someone deemed “gravely disabled,” or unable to meet their needs for food, clothing, or shelter as a result of mental illness, to take medication and be placed in a locked facility. At the same time, civil liberties and disability rights...
Published 06/18/24
In Do I Know You? From Faceblindness to Super Recognition (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2023), Dr. Sharrona Pearl explores the fascinating category of face recognition and the "the face recognition spectrum," which ranges from face blindness at one end to super recognition at the other. Super recognizers can recall faces from only the briefest exposure, while face blind people lack the capacity to recognize faces at all, including those of their closest loved ones. Informed by archival...
Published 06/08/24
Policing the Womb: Invisible Women and the Criminalization of Motherhood (Cambridge University Press, 2020) a brilliant but shocking account of the criminalization of all aspects of reproduction, pregnancy, abortion, birth, and motherhood in the United States. In her extensively researched monograph, Michele Goodwin recounts the horrific contemporary situation, which includes, for example, mothers giving birth shackled in leg irons, in solitary confinement, even in prison toilets, and in some...
Published 06/08/24
Many of us know that immigrants have been deported from the United States for well over a century, but has anyone ever asked how? In The Deportation Machine: America’s Long History of Expelling Immigrants (Princeton University Press, 2020), author Adam Goodman brings together new archival evidence to write an expansive history of deportation from the United States that threads the late-nineteenth century through to the present. Goodman, Assistant Professor of Latin American and Latino studies...
Published 06/02/24
Aya Gruber, a professor of law at the University of Colorado Law School, has written a history of how the women’s movement in America has shaped the law on domestic violence and sexual assault. In The Feminist War on Crime: The Unexpected Role of Women’s Liberation in Mass Incarceration (University of California Press, 2020), Professor Gruber contends that the legal reform movement on sexual assault began with feminists in the 19th century, who argued in favor of temperance reform, partly in...
Published 06/02/24
Poverty is big business in America. The federal government spends about $900 billion a year on programs that directly or disproportionately impact poor Americans, including antipoverty programs such as the earned income tax credit, Medicaid, and affordable housing vouchers and subsidies. States and local governments spend tens of billions more.  Ironically, these enormous sums fuel the “corporate poverty complex,” a vast web of hidden industries and entrenched private-sector interests that...
Published 05/30/24
Although Latinos are now the largest non-majority group in the United States, existing research on white attitudes toward Latinos has focused almost exclusively on attitudes toward immigration. Ignored Racism: White Animus Toward Latinos (Cambridge University Press) changes that. It argues that such accounts fundamentally underestimate the political power of whites' animus toward Latinos and thus miss how conflict extends well beyond immigration to issues such as voting rights, criminal...
Published 05/28/24
"The Polish Police, commonly called the Blue or uniformed police in order to avoid using the term “Polish,” has played a most lamentable role in the extermination of the Jews of Poland. The uniformed police has been an enthusiastic executor of all German directives regarding the Jews." -Emanuel Ringelblum, Warsaw, 1943. Shortly after the occupation of Poland in the fall of 1939, the Germans created the Blue Police, consisting mainly of prewar Polish police officers. Within a short time, this...
Published 05/27/24
For 40 years, this classic text has taken the issue of economic inequality seriously and asked: Why are our prisons filled with the poor? Why aren't the tools of the criminal justice system being used to protect Americans from predatory business practices and to punish well-off people who cause widespread harm?  This new edition continues to engage readers in important exercises of critical thinking: Why has the U.S. relied so heavily on tough crime policies despite evidence of their limited...
Published 05/24/24
'A woman, a dog and a walnut tree, the more they are beaten, the better they’ll be.' So went the proverb quoted by a prominent MP in the Houses of Parliament in 1853. His words – intended ironically in a debate about a rise in attacks on women – summed up the prevailing attitude of the day, in which violence against women was waved away as a part and parcel of modern living – a chilling seam of misogyny that had polluted both parliament and the law. But were things about to change? The Walnut...
Published 05/19/24
David Pozen is the Charles Keller Beekman Professor of Law at Columbia Law School and the author of the new book, The Constitution of the War on Drugs (Oxford UP, 2024). An expert in constitutional law, Pozen argues that the drug war has been an unmitigated disaster, in terms of money, efficacy, and human rights. But even as activists peel off the drug war’s more unsavory aspects through cannabis and psychedelic legalization, Pozen also argues that they’ve neglected to consider the impact...
Published 04/28/24
Today’s book is: Stitching Freedom: Embroidery and Incarceration (Common Threads Press, 2024), by Dr. Isabella Rosner, which considers how for centuries, people have stitched in good times and in bad, finding strength in the needle moving in and out of fabric. Stitching Freedom explores the embroidery made in prisons and mental health hospitals — those who have embroidered to distract, to reflect or to calm. From Mary, Queen of Scots to Lorina Bulwer to “Unfortunate Annie” Parker, embroidery...
Published 04/25/24
American guns have entangled the lives of people on both sides of the US-Mexico border in a vicious circle of violence. After treating wounded migrants and refugees seeking safety in the United States, anthropologist Ieva Jusionyte boldly embarked on a journey in the opposite direction—following the guns from dealers in Arizona and Texas to crime scenes in Mexico. An expert work of narrative nonfiction, Exit Wounds: How America's Guns Fuel Violence across the Border (University of California...
Published 04/15/24
Co-edited by Dave Mac Marquis and Moira Marquis, two activists with deep experience in organizing prison books programs (PBPs), Books Through Bars: Stories from the Prison Books Movement (University of Georgia Press, 2024) introduces readers to PBPs and their decentralized organization. PBPs are a grassroots-level and nationwide activist movement challenging the largest prison industry in the world by refusing to let incarcerated people remain isolated and forgotten. Operating on shoestring...
Published 03/31/24
Paramilitaries, crime, and tens of thousands of disappeared persons—the so-called war on drugs has perpetuated violence in Latin America, at times precisely in regions of economic growth. Legal and illegal economy are difficult to distinguish. A failure of state institutions to provide security for its citizens does not sufficiently explain this. Selective Security in the War on Drugs: The Coloniality of State Power in Colombia and Mexico (Rowman & Littlefield, 2023) (Rowman &...
Published 03/18/24
Dismissed as ‘Mrs Sherlock Holmes’ or amateurish Miss Marples, mocked as private dicks or honey trappers, they have been investigating crime since the mid-nineteenth century – everything from theft and fraud to romance scams and murder. In Private Inquiries: The Secret History of Female Sleuths (The History Press, 2023), Caitlin Davies traces the history of the UK’s female investigators, uncovering the truth about their lives and careers from the 1850s to the present day. Women like Victorian...
Published 03/17/24
The Spatiality and Temporality of Urban Violence: Histories, Rhythms and Ruptures (Manchester UP, 2023) asks how the city, with its spatial and temporal configuration and its rhythms, produces and shapes violence, both in terms of the built environment, and through particular 'urban' social relations. The book builds on the insight that violence itself is a spatiotemporal practice with generative capacities, which produces and transforms urban space and time in the long turn, also through the...
Published 03/10/24
Covert violence occurs in all social institutions—including families and close relationships, education, workplaces, politics, mass media, and healthcare—each with its own unique power dynamics that shape the incidence and patterns of these vicious acts. Covert Violence: The Secret Weapon of the Powerless (Bristol University Press, 2023) by Dr. Jack Levin and Dr. Julie B. Wiest focuses on the types of surreptitious murder and mayhem that perpetrators intend to go unnoticed by would-be...
Published 02/23/24
Max Ward’s Thought Crime: Ideology and State Power in Interwar Japan (Duke University Press, 2019) analyzes the trajectory and transformations of the implementation of Japan’s 1925 Peace Preservation Law from its conception until the early years of the 1940s. The law, which began as a state effort to tamp down radicalism and “dangerous thought” (mostly Marxism) and preserve and protect imperial sovereignty, spawned a massive apparatus populated by both state and nonstate actors dedicated to...
Published 02/21/24
In September of 2019, Luis Alberto Quiñonez—known as Sito— was shot to death as he sat in his car in the Mission District of San Francisco. He was nineteen. His killer, Julius Williams, was seventeen. It was the second time the teens had encountered one another. The first, five years before, also ended in tragedy, when Julius watched as his brother was stabbed to death by an acquaintance of Sito’s. The two murders merited a few local news stories, and then the rest of the world moved on. But...
Published 02/21/24