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Fred Cohen

Bio: Fred Cohen is an academic researcher. The author has contributed to research in topic(s): Prison reform. The author has an hindex of 1, co-authored 1 publication(s) receiving 3 citation(s).
Topics: Prison reform

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3 citations

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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The impact of the prisoners' rights movement on prisons and prisoners' lives has been analyzed in this paper, where the authors argue that individual case holdings that have dominated the attention of legal academics are less significant than the capacity of law reform efforts to shape and sustain a prisoners rights movement with adherents inside and outside of prison.
Abstract: Even as some prison officials and academics brand judicial intervention in matters of prison policy and administration as misguided and counterproductive, some prisoner advocates despair of the capacity of law reform to produce meaningful prison reform. The prisoners' rights movement should be seen as a sociopolitical movement like the civil rights movement or the women's movement. From this perspective, individual case holdings that have dominated the attention of legal academics are less significant than the capacity of law reform efforts to shape and sustain a prisoners' rights movement with adherents inside and outside of prison. It is also important not to adopt too narrow a view of the impacts of the prisoners' rights movement. Simple studies of compliance with judicial decrees do not capture the complexity of changes occasioned by legal activity. To appreciate fully the impacts of the prisoners' rights movement on prisons and prisoners' lives, it is necessary to consider such secondary effects as c...

57 citations

Journal Article
TL;DR: For example, the U.S. prison population reached 2,000,000 in 2000, with millions more under the jurisdiction of the criminal justice system in local jails awaiting trial, in INS prisons awaiting deportation, or in their homes linked with criminal justice authorities through ankle bracelets that track thei r every move as mentioned in this paper.
Abstract: "I'M BEGINNING TO BELIEVE THAT 'U.S.A.' STANDS FOR THE UNDERPRIVILEGED Slaves of America" (Esposito and Wood, 1982: 149), wrote a 20th-century prisoner from Mississippi in a letter detailing the daily violence he witnessed behind prison walls. His statement resounds with a long tradition of prisoners, particularly African-American prisoners, who have used the language and narrative of slavery to describe the conditions of their imprisonment. In the year 2000. as the punishment industry becomes a leading employer and producer for the U.S. "state," and as private prison and "security" corporations bargain to control the profits of this traffic in human unfreedom, the analogies between slavery and prison abound. This year the U.S. prison population cascaded past 2,000,000, [1] with millions more under the jurisdiction of the criminal justice system in local jails awaiting trial, in INS prisons awaiting deportation, or in their homes linked with criminal justice authorities through ankle bracelets that track thei r every move. Recent studies of the prison boom stress the persistent disparities in sentencing according to race -- prison populations continue to be disproportionately African American and Latino. With longer sentences being imposed for nonviolent drug offenses, with aggressive campaigns aimed at criminalizing young people, and with the growing number of children left orphaned by the criminal justice system, the carceral reach of the state and private corporations resonates with the history of slavery and marks a level of human bondage unparalleled in the 20th century. Scholars and activists have plunged into an examination of the historical origins of racialized slavery as a coercive labor form and social system in an attempt to explain the huge increase in mass incarceration in the U.S. since the end of World War II. Drawing these links has been important in explaining the relationship between racism and criminalization after emancipation, and in connecting the rise of industrial and mechanized labor to the destructive effects of deindustrialization and globalization. The point of retracing this history is not to argue that prisons have been a direct outgrowth of slavery, but to interrogate the persistent connections between racism and the global economy. Mass imprisonment on the level seen in the U.S. in the 20th century occupies a phase along the spectrum of unfree labor related to, yet distinct from, chattel slavery. As many scholars of the punishment industry have shown, regardless of the labor prisoners do to service the larger economy (either private or public), pr isons increasingly function in the U.S. economy as answers to the devastation unleashed by the dual forces of Reaganomics and the globalization of capital (Parenti, 1999; Gilmore, 1997; Manning, 1983). The immediate post-emancipation period is a key place to start in outlining the investment of the U.S. state in this trade in humanity. Related to the above is the growth of new abolitionist movements whose goals are the elimination of mass imprisonment as a method of treatment for addiction and mental illness, as an economic ameliorative, and as a method of social control -- what one scholar has termed "the carceral management of poverty" (Wacquant, 1999: 349). The connections between slavery and imprisonment have been used by abolitionists as an historical explanation and as part of a radical political strategy that questions the feasibility of "reform" as an appropriate response to prison expansion. As a leader in the creation of this new abolitionist movement, Angela Davis (1996: 26) has written, "I choose the word 'abolitionist' deliberately. The 13th Amendment, when it abolished slavery, did so except for convicts. Through the prison system, the vestiges of slavery have persisted. It thus makes sense to use a word that has this historical resonance." Though some 20th-century abolitionist movements connect themselves expressly with the tradition of 19th-century abolitionists and antislavery advocates, abolitionism as defined here is the conglomerate of many local movements that express abolitionist aims indirectly through challenging the fundamental methods of the prison-industrial complex -- mandatory minimum sentences, harsh penalties for nonviolent drug offenses, and the continuous construction of prisons that goes on regardless of crime rates. …

36 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors trace the grandes lignes des propositions suivantes, i.e., the theory of the peine, the psychologie of the integration normative, and the sociologie de l'integration normative.
Abstract: INFLUENCE DE LA JUSTICE CRIMINELLE SUR L'INTEGRATION NORMATIVECe document est separe en trois parties : 1) la theorie de la peine ; 2) l'aspect psychologique de l'integration normative ; 3) l'aspect sociologique de l'integration normative. Il trace les grandes lignes des propositions suivantes.1. L'ordre social engendre l'anomie, si la structure sociale et la conscience sociale dominante ne correspondent pas au degre de developpement de la societe.2. L'anomie affecte la societe dans son ensemble, mais l'intensite du processus anomique varie selon les divergences entre les interets d'une strate sociale particuliere et les interets representes par la justice criminelle.3. Le processus anomique demontre la necessite du changement dans la structure normative de la societe. Il ne reussit pas cependant a faire la difference entre les normes socialement utiles et celles qui ne le sont pas.4. La structure sociale normative dominante est un systeme fortement articule. Comme tel il ne peut changer que dans son ensemble et non pas de facon partielle. Le choix doit etre fait, soit de la defendre comme un tout, ou de ne pas la defendre du tout.5. La structure normative, a ce moment doit etre defendue en tant que tout, particulierement parce que le processus anomique l'attaque en tant que tout.6. Le droit penal influence les sentiments collectifs a travers la peine. Plus le sentiment collectif est intense plus il est renforce par la punition. Si cette intensite n'est pas assez forte, la peine ne fera que dissimuler l'anomie ou meme catalysera le processus anomique.7. L'influence de la peine n'est pertinente qu'en fonction des citoyens qui respectent les lois, parce que c'est la que le sentiment collectif est suffisamment intense.8. Le manque d'identification au systeme normatif dominant a affecte la theorie sociale et ceux qui sont charges de faire respecter la loi. Cette tendance liee a la concentration de l'attention sur des delinquants, produit ou tend a produire une application de la justice criminelle moralement neutre.9. Si nous voulons que la peine ait une influence positive sur l'integration normative, si nous voulons que la peine soutienne le sentiment collectif il faudrait que sa connotation morale soit preservee.10. Toutefois, la peine n'est pas une solution au probleme de l'anomie. Dans le systeme de justice actuel, elle peut le diriger vers differents secteurs de la vie sociale ou le forcer a changer. Devant les besoins toujours plus grands de changement des valeurs et structures sociales, ses buts devraient etre de defendre les valeurs sociales de base qui expriment les besoins de la societe entiere. Cependant elle ne peut defendre ces valeurs qu'en defendant le systeme normatif dans son entier, l'anomie ne pouvant se developper dans certains secteurs sans affecter les points vitaux de la structure normative.11. En consequence l'application de la justice criminelle aura necessairement un effet ambivalent : elle intensifiera l'integration normative de certaines normes a l'interieur de certains secteurs de la societe, et en meme temps elle augmentera Panomie de certaines normes dans d'autres strates sociales.

7 citations