How can we fight for accountability when privatization is designed to allow the government and private contractors to evade just that? A recent lawsuit—and the campaign behind it—points to one underexplored answer.
The threat of precarious work does not come exclusively from marketization swamping a shrinking welfare and regulatory state. It comes as well from a metastasizing and thoroughly racialized carceral state, one that simultaneously speaks the language of public violence and sings in the liberal key of choice. Even critical accounts of the criminal legal system fail to fully capture the relevance of this dynamic, focusing only on how it produces economic exclusion, not also incorporation on subordinated terms.
It would be ironic indeed if a UBI slipped quickly through the fingers of lower-income people of color and into the coffers of jurisdictions most aggressively criminalizing poverty. This would negate UBI’s ability to facilitate work refusal because UBI—devoured by debt—would no longer be available to meet basic needs without a wage (or connection to a wage-earner). Moreover, this negation’s radically unequal racial distribution would mock UBI’s pretensions to universalism. Substantive universality requires more than formal inclusion and nominally equal payments. It requires cash receipts that deliver equal capacity to refuse work.
This letter seeks to acknowledge how legal academia facilitates mass incarceration. Law professors must do more than teach the blackletter law, and we ask scholars for a commitment to situate their teaching of criminal law within the larger history and current context.
Proposals that challenge carceral punishment fail to address the criminal law responses that govern gender-based violence. The failure to include gender violence offenses within progressive reform initiatives often serves to categorize those who have engaged in such harm as unworthy of the benefits of reform.
All defendants need the opportunity to raise complaints with their representation before appeal. Reserving this for only those who were already able to hire counsel of their choice operates to further disenfranchise the most vulnerable people charged with crimes.
The failure to hold police accountable for their toxic culture has and continues to threaten the safety and Constitutional protections of vulnerable communities and disfavored groups.
Incarceration deprives communities of their immediate histories. Victims of incarceration often never learn what happened a generation ago that led to the conditions they experience, and if you are never taught your history, you’re being stripped of it.
Announcing our latest symposium on the criminal legal system and the current movement to transform it.
In this watershed moment when policymakers feel liberated to embrace noncarceral responses to the behaviors that laws label crimes, one question rings out: “What about rape and domestic violence?” The pro-policing contingent intends this as a rhetorical “gotcha.” But many progressives open to meaningful reform genuinely worry about the demise of gender crime law, which they see as a formidable legal tool against the patriarchy.
I think a lot of people at our law school talk about how the work is exhausting and spiritually draining, but not enough people talk about how the work is life-giving, deeply cathartic, spiritual. I don’t think that hit for me as profoundly as in this moment.
For nearly three weeks now, masses around the country have taken the street to protest the violence that is routinely inflicted upon Black people by unaccountable police. Their demands for change, made in the tenor and tradition of abolitionist organizers, swiftly have coalesced into a shared refrain: Defund the police. Behind this demand is a…
George Floyd’s family will almost certainly bring a lawsuit against Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, the three officers on the scene who stood by, and the City as a whole. Assuming Floyd’s family prevails, who will foot the bill? And who should? In this transformative moment—during this nationwide conversation about what we empower the police to…
Cities across the country are in turmoil after the cold-blooded killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. While the protests are motivated by and calling for a range of solutions to the ongoing problem of police brutality, the loudest call is for accountability in the form of criminal charges against the officers involved…
A version of this post appeared on the Boston Review’s website yesterday. There is a distressing disconnect between the ringing demands for justice on the streets and the suite of “police reform” proposals that many experts say satisfy these demands. Protesters and social movements talk about divesting from policing and investing in black communities. They talk about ensuring that “the most impacted in our communities…