November 27, 2016 at 6:37 pm

Kaufman Article: ‘Penal State’s Interventionist, Covert, and Negligent Modalities of Control’

Dr. Nicole Kaufman

Dr. Nicole Kaufman

Dr. Nicole Kaufman, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Ohio University, co-authored an article on “Beyond Punishment: The Penal State’s Interventionist, Covert, and Negligent Modalities of Control” in Law & Social Inquiry, the journal of the American Bar Foundation.

Her co-authors are Joshua Kaiser, a Law and Social Science Fellow at the American Bar Foundation and Law and Science Fellow at Northwestern University, and Cesraéa Rumpf, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Benedictine University.

Abstract: This article investigates the involvement of the penal state in the lives of criminalized people as a controlling force that takes multiple forms. We offer the concept of modalities of penal control and identify three such modalities in addition to expressive punishment: interventionist penal control is accomplished in extralegal ways; covert penal control is hidden from public view; and negligent penal control is characterized by the absence of action by state actors. This article illustrates empirical cases of each modality, using data from three distinct projects based in Chicago, southern Wisconsin, and nationwide. The data include observations of post-prison groups and homes, interviews with criminalized people and nongovernmental organizational (NGO) staff, statutes, and regulations. This expanded understanding of penal state involvement extends beyond the understanding that characterizes discussions of mass incarceration and highlights the need for comprehensive reform.

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