Skip to main content
×
×
Home

The Civic Voluntarism of “Custodial Citizens”: Involuntary Criminal Justice Contact, Associational Life, and Political Participation

  • Michael Leo Owens and Hannah L. Walker
Abstract

A growing body of research explores the influence of involuntary criminal justice contact on political participation, demonstrating that all types of contact weaken political participation. We posit, however, that personal connections to civil society organizations (CSOs) moderate the negative effects of involuntary criminal justice contact on political participation, particularly political activism beyond registering to vote and voting. We test this proposition with individual-level and aggregate-level data from metropolitan and municipal Chicago. Our findings confirm a paradox of participation by custodial citizens. One, we demonstrate positive, statistically significant, and substantive effects of personal connections to CSOs on nonvoting political participation by custodial citizens. Two, the negative effects of involuntary criminal justice contact on voting participation among individuals and communities may endure, despite personal connections to CSOs, even in a state where the franchise is restored immediately after incarceration. Our study suggests that an associational account of political participation deepens our understanding of the political behavior of custodial citizens and their communities in the age of mass incarceration.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      The Civic Voluntarism of “Custodial Citizens”: Involuntary Criminal Justice Contact, Associational Life, and Political Participation
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      The Civic Voluntarism of “Custodial Citizens”: Involuntary Criminal Justice Contact, Associational Life, and Political Participation
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      The Civic Voluntarism of “Custodial Citizens”: Involuntary Criminal Justice Contact, Associational Life, and Political Participation
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Footnotes
Hide All

They thank Wesley Skogan for data from the Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy, as well as Tom Ogorzalek and Tracy Burch for advice about data sources in Chicago. Additionally, they thank the Chicago Justice Project. They also thank Adam Glynn, Pierce Edwards, and the anonymous reviewers for their comments on the paper, and Michael Bernhard for his unwavering support. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 2016 American Political Science Association meeting.

A list of permanent links to Supplementary Materials provided by the authors precedes the References section.

Footnotes
References
Hide All
Barreto, Matt A., Manzano, Sylvia, Ramirez, Ricardo, and Rim, Kathy. 2009. “Mobilization, Participation, and Solidaridad: Latino Participation in the 2006 Immigration Protest Rallies.” Urban Affairs Review 44(5): 736–64.
Beaumont, Gustave de and de Tocqueville, Alexis. 1979. On the Penitentiary System in the United States and Its Application in France. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.
Berry, Jeffrey M. 2003. A Voice for Nonprofits. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.
Berry, Jeffrey M., Portney, Kent E., and Thomson, Ken. 1993. The Rebirth of Urban Democracy. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.
Bruch, Sarah K., Marx Ferree, Myra, and Soss, Joe. 2010. “From Policy to Polity: Democracy, Paternalism, and the Incorporation of Disadvantaged Citizens.” American Sociological Review 75(2): 205–26.
Bruch, Sarah K. and Soss, Joe. 2018. “Schooling as a Formative Political Experience: Authority Relations and the Education of Citizens.” Perspectives on Politics 16(1): 3657.
Burch, Traci. 2013. Trading Democracy for Justice: Criminal Convictions and the Decline of Neighborhood Political Participation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Burch, Traci. 2014. “The Effects of Imprisonment and Community Supervision on Neighborhood Political Participation in North Carolina.” The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 651(1): 184201.
Clark, Dan. 2017. “How Many U.S. Adults Have a Criminal Record? Depends on How You Define It.” Politifact, New York. Available at http://www.politifact.com/new-york/statements/2017/aug/18/andrew-cuomo/yes-one-three-us-adults-have-criminal-record/.
Clear, Todd. 2007. Imprisoning Communities: How Mass Incarceration Makes Disadvantaged Neighborhoods Worse. New York: Oxford University Press.
Cohen, Cathy. 1999. The Boundaries of Blackness: AIDS and the Breakdown of Black Politics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Cohen, Cathy. 2004. “Deviance as Resistance: A New Research Agenda for the Study of Black Politics.” Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race 1(1): 2745.
Cohen, Joshua and Rogers, Joel. 1995. Associations and Democracy. London: Verso Books.
Comfort, Megan. 2016. “’A Twenty-Hour-a-Day Job’: The Impact of Frequent Low-Level Criminal Justice Involvement on Family Life.” The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 665(1): 6379.
Dilts, Andrew. 2014. Punishment and Inclusion: Race, Membership, and the Limits of American Liberalism. New York: Fordham University Press.
Enns, Peter. 2016. Incarceration Nation: How the United States Became the Most Punitive Democracy in the World. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Epp, Charles, Maynard-Moody, Steven, and Haider-Markel, Donald. 2014. Pulled Over: How Police Stops Define Race and Citizenship. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Fairchild, Erika. 1977. “Politicization of the Criminal Offender.” Criminology 15(3): 287318.
Filindra, Alexandra, Kaplan, Noah and Krysan, Maria. 2014. “2014 Chicago Area Study.” University of Illinois Chicago.
Flores, Edward and Cossyleon, Jennifer. 2016. “‘I Went Through It So You Don’t Have To’: Faith-Based Community Organizing for the Formerly Incarcerated.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 55(4): 662–76.
Fung, Archon. 2003. “Association and Democracy: Between Theories, Hopes, and Realities.” Annual Review of Sociology 29: 515–39.
Fyall, Rachel and Allard, Scott. 2017. “Nonprofits and Political Activity: A Joint Consideration of the Political Activities, Programs, and Organizational Characteristics of Social Service Nonprofits.” Human Service Organizations 41(3): 275300.
García Bedolla, Lisa and Michelson, Melissa. 2012. Mobilizing Inclusion: Redefining Citizenship through Get-Out-the-Vote Campaigns. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Gerber, Alan S., Huber, Gregory A., Meredith, Marc, Biggers, Daniel R., and Hendry, David J.. 2015. “Can Incarcerated Felons Be (Re)integrated into the Political System? Results from a Field Experiment.” American Journal of Political Science 59(4): 912–26.
Gerber, Alan S., Huber, Gregory A., Meredith, Marc, Biggers, Daniel R., and Hendry, David J.. 2017. “Does Incarceration Reduce Voting? Evidence about the Political Consequences of Spending Time in Prison.” Journal of Politics 79(4): 1130–46.
Gottschalk, Marie. 2016. Caught: The Prison State and the Lockdown of American Politics. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Graauw, Els de. 2016 Making Immigrant Rights Real: Nonprofits and the Politics of Integration in San Francisco. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Han, Hahrie. 2009. Moved to Action: Motivation, Participation, and Inequality in American Politics. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Han, Hahrie. 2014. How Organizations Develop Activists: Civic Associations and Leadership in the 21st Century. New York: Oxford University Press.
Han, Hahrie. 2016. “The Organizational Roots of Political Activism: Field Experiments on Creating a Relational Context.” American Political Science Review 110(2): 296307.
Harris, Fredrick. 2001. Something Within: Religion in African-American Political Activism. New York: Oxford University Press.
Harris, Alexes. 2016. A Pound of Flesh: Monetary Sanctions and Punishment for the Poor. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
Haselswerdt, Michael. 2009. “Con Job: An Estimate of Ex-Felon Voter Turnout Using Document-Based Data.” Social Science Quarterly 90(2): 262–73.
Hjalmarsson, Randi and Lopez, Mark. 2010. “The Voting Behavior of Young Disenfranchised Felons.” American Law and Economics Review 12(2): 356–93.
Howard, Marc Morjé. 2017. Unusually Cruel: Prisons, Punishment, and the Real American Exceptionalism. New York: Oxford University Press.
Holbrook, Allyson and Krosnick, Jon. 2010. “Social Desirability Bias in Voter Turnout Reports.” Public Opinion Quarterly 74(1): 3767.
Hull, Elizabeth. 2006. The Disenfranchisement of Ex-Felons. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.
Jacobs, James. 2015. The Eternal Criminal Record. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Justice, Benjamin and Meares, Tracey L.. 2014. “How the Criminal Justice System Educates Citizens.” The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 651(1): 159–77.
Kang, Woo Chang and Dawes, Christopher T.. 2017. “The Electoral Effect of Stop-and-Frisk.” Available at https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3000561, accessed March 20, 2018.
Katzenstein, Mary Fainsod, Ibrahim, Leila, and Rubin, Katherine. 2010. “The Dark Side of American Liberalism and Felony Disenfranchisement.” Perspectives on Politics 8(4): 1035–54.
Katzenstein, Mary Fainsod and Waller, Maureen. 2015. “Taxing the Poor: Incarceration, Poverty Governance, and the Seizure of Family Resources.” Perspectives on Politics 13(3): 638–56.
Kaufman, Nicole. 2015. “Prisoner Incorporation: The Work of the State and Nongovernmental Organizations.” Theoretical Criminology 19(4): 534–53.
King, Ryan and Mauer, Marc. 2004. “The Vanishing Black Electorate: Felony Disenfranchisement in Atlanta, Georgia.” Washington, DC: The Sentencing Project.
Laniyonu, Ayobami. 2018. “Police, Politics and Participation: The Effect of Police Exposure on Political Participation in the United Kingdom.” The British Journal of Criminology. Available at https://doi.org/10.1093/bjc/azy003.
Lee, Hedwig, Porter, Lauren, and Comfort, Megan. 2014. “Consequences of Family Member Incarceration: Impacts on Civic Participation and Perceptions of the Legitimacy and Fairness of Government.” The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 651(1): 4473.
Lerman, Amy and Weaver, Vesla. 2014a. Arresting Citizenship: The Democratic Consequences of American Crime Control. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Lerman, Amy and Weaver, Vesla. 2014b. “Staying out of Sight? Concentrated Policing and Local Political Action.” The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 651(1): 202–19.
LeRoux, Kelly and Krawczyk, Kelly. 2014. “Can Nonprofit Organizations Increase Voter Turnout? Findings from an Agency-Based Voter Mobilization Experiment.” Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 43(2): 272–92.
Levi, Margaret. 2003. “Organizing Power: The Prospects for an American Labor Movement.” Perspectives on Politics 1(1): 4568.
Majic, Samantha. 2011. “Serving Sex Workers and Promoting Democratic Engagement: Rethinking Nonprofits’ Role in American Civic and Political Life.” Perspectives on Politics 9(4): 821–39.
Manza, Jeff and Uggen, Christopher. 2004. “Punishment and Democracy: Disenfranchisement of Nonincarcerated Felons in the United States,” Perspectives on Politics 2(3): 491505.
Manza, Jeff and Uggen, Christopher. 2006. Locked Out: Felon Disenfranchisement and American Democracy. New York: Oxford University Press.
Maruna, Shad. 2001. Making Good: How Ex-Convicts Reform and Rebuild Their Lives. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Marwell, Nicole P. 2004. “Privatizing the Welfare State: Nonprofit Community-Based Organizations as Political Actors.” American Sociological Review 69(2): 262–91.
Meredith, Marc and Morse, Michael. 2014. “Do Voting Rights Notification Laws Increase Ex-Felon Turnout?” The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 651(1): 220–49.
Meredith, Marc and Morse, Michael. 2015. “The Politics of the Restoration of Ex-Felon Voting Rights: The Case of Iowa.” Quarterly Journal of Political Science 10(1): 41100.
Mettler, Suzanne and Soss, Joe. 2004. “The Consequences of Public Policy for Democratic Citizenship: Bridging Policy Studies and Mass Politics.” Perspectives on Politics 2(1): 5573.
Miller, Joshua. 2015. “Democracy and Education Behind Bars.” Perspectives on Politics 13(3): 714–21.
Miller, Reuben. 2014. “Devolving the Carceral State: Race, Prisoner Reentry and the Micro-Politics of Urban Poverty Management.” Punishment and Society 16(3): 305–35.
Miller, Reuben and Stuart, Forrest. 2017. “Carceral Citizenship: Race, Rights and Responsibility in the Age of Mass Supervision.” Theoretical Criminology 21(4): 532–48.
Minkoff, Scott. 2016. “NYC 311: A Tract-Level Analysis of Citizen–Government Contacting in New York City.” Urban Affairs Review 52(2): 211–46.
Muller, Christopher and Schrage, Daniel R.. 2014. “Mass Imprisonment and Trust in the Law.” The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 651(1): 139–58.
National Center for Victims of Crime. 2016. “Crime Trends.” Available at https://ovc.ncjrs.gov/ncvrw2016/content/section-6/PDF/2016NCVRW_CrimeTrends-508.pdf, accessed February 21, 2018.
O’Brien, Daniel. 2016. “311 Hotlines, Territoriality, and the Collaborative Maintenance of the Urban Commons: Examining the Intersection of a Coproduction Policy and Evolved Human Behavior.” Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences 10(2): 123–41.
O’Brien, Daniel, Offenhuber, Dietmar, Baldwin-Philippi, Jessica, Sands, Melissa, and Gordon, Eric. 2017. “Uncharted Territoriality in Coproduction: The Motivations for 311 Reporting.” Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 27(2): 320–35.
Owens, Michael Leo. 2007. God and Government in the Ghetto: The Politics of Church-State Collaboration in Black America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Owens, Michael Leo. 2014. “Ex-Felons’ Organization- Based Political Work for Carceral Reforms.” The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 651(1): 256–65.
Owens, Michael Leo and Smith, Adrienne R.. 2012. “‘Deviants’ and Democracy: Punitive Policy Designs and the Social Rights of Felons as Citizens.” American Politics Research 40(3): 531–67.
Pager, Devah. 2007. Marked: Race, Crime, and Finding Work in an Era of Mass Incarceration. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Peffley, Mark and Hurwitz, Jon. 2010. Justice in America: The Separate Realities of Blacks and Whites. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Persson, Mikael and Solevid, Maria. 2013. “Measuring Political Participation: Testing Social Desirability Bias in a Web-survey Experiment.” International Journal of Public Opinion Research 26(1): 98112.
Petit, Becky. 2012. Invisible Men: Mass Incarceration and the Myth of Black Progress. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
Putnam, Robert. 2000. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Rios, Victor. 2011. Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys. New York: New York University Press.
Rosenstone, Steven J. and Hansen, John Mark. 2003. Mobilization, Participation, and Democracy in America. New York: Longman.
Sampson, Robert. 2012. Great American City: Chicago and the Enduring Neighborhood Effect. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Sampson, Robert and Loeffler, Charles. 2010. “Punishment’s Place: The Local Concentration of Mass Incarceration.” Daedalus 139(3): 2031.
Sances, Michael W. and You, Hye Young. 2017. “Who Pays for Government? Descriptive Representation and Exploitative Revenue Sources.” Journal of Politics 79(3): 1090–94.
Schlozman, Kay Lehman. 2002. “Citizen Participation in America: What Do We Know? Why Do We Care?” In Political Science: The State of the Discipline, ed. Katznelson, Ira and Milner, Helen. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.
Schlozman, Kay Lehman, Veba, Sidney, and Brady, Henry E.. 1999. “Civic Participation and the Equality Problem.” In Civic Engagement in American Democracy, ed. Skocpol, Theda, and Fiorina, Morris. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press and Russell Sage Foundation.
Schneider, Anne and Ingram, Helen. 1997. Policy Design for Democracy. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas.
Shedd, Carla. 2015. Unequal City: Race, Schools, and Perceptions of Justice. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
Skocpol, Michael. 2017. “The Emerging Constitutional Law of Prison Gerrymandering.” Stanford Law Review 69(5): 1473–539.
Skocpol, Theda. 1990. “Sustainable Social Policy: Fighting Poverty Without Poverty Programs.” The American Prospect 2: 5870.
Skocpol, Theda. 1999. “Advocates without Members: The Recent Transformation of American Civic Life.” In Civic Engagement in American Democracy, ed. Skocpol, Theda, and Fiorina, Morris. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press and Russell Sage Foundation.
Skocpol, Theda and Fiorina, Morris, eds. 1999. Civic Engagement in American Democracy. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press and Russell Sage Foundation.
Skogan, Wesley. 2016. “What Happened to Community Policing?” Unpublished manuscript.
Skogan, Wesley and Hartnett, Susan. 1997. Community Policing, Chicago Style. New York: Oxford University Press.
Smith, Kevin B. 2004. “The Politics of Punishment: Evaluating Political Explanations of Incarceration Rates.” Journal of Politics 66(3): 925–38.
Soss, Joe and Weaver, Vesla. 2017. “Police Are Our Government: Politics, Political Science, and the Policing of Race-Class Subjugated Communities.” Annual Review of Political Science 20: 565–91.
Soss, Joe and Weaver, Vesla. 2016. “Learning from Ferguson: Welfare, Criminal Justice and the Political Science of Race and Class.” Washington, DC: American Political Science Association.
Steinacker, Andrea. 2003. “The Prisoner ’s Campaign: Felony Disenfranchisement Laws and the Right to Hold Public Office.” BYU Law Review 2003(2): 801–28.
Strolovitch, Dara. 2007. Affirmative Advocacy: Race, Class, and Gender in Interest Group Politics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Sugie, Naomi. 2015. “Chilling Effects: Diminished Political Participation among Partners of Formerly Incarcerated Men.” Social Problems 62(4): 550–71.
Thorpe, Rebecca. 2015. “Perverse Politics: The Persistence of Mass Imprisonment in the Twenty-First Century.” Perspectives on Politics 13(3): 618–37.
Tocqueville, Alexis de. 2002. Democracy in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Travis, Jeremy and Waul, Michelle. 2003. Prisoners Once Removed: The Impact of Incarceration and Reentry on Children, Families, and Communities. Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press.
Tyler, Tom, Fagan, Jeffrey, and Geller, Amanda. 2014. “Street Stops and Police Legitimacy: Teachable Moments in Young Urban Men’s Legal Socialization.” Journal of Empirical Legal Studies 11(4): 751–85.
Uggen, Christopher and Manza, Jeff. 2002. “Democratic Contraction? Political Consequences of Felon Disenfranchisement in the United States.” American Sociological Review 67(6): 777803.
U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. 1993. Survey of Criminal History Information Systems. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.
U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. 2012. “One in 34 U.S. Adults Under Correctional Supervision in 2011, Lowest Rate Since 2000.” Available at https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/press/cpus11ppus11pr.cfm, accessed February 19, 2018.
U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. 2018. Survey of State Criminal History Information Systems. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.
U.S. Department of Justice. 2015. The Ferguson Report: Department of Justice Investigation of the Ferguson Police Department. New York: Free Press.
Verba, Sidney, Schlozman, Kay, and Brady, Henry. 1995. Voice and Equality: Civic Voluntarism in American Politics. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Visher, Christy, Yahner, Jennifer, and Vigne, Nancy La. 2010. Life after Prison: Tracking the Experiences of Male Prisoners Returning to Chicago, Cleveland, and Houston. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.
Walker, Hannah. 2014. “Extending the Effects of the Carceral State: Proximal Contact, Political Participation, and Race.” Political Research Quarterly 67(4): 809–22.
Walker, Hannah, Thorpe, Rebecca U., Christensen, Emily K., and Anderson, J. P.. 2017. “The Hidden Subsidies of Rural Prisons: Race, Space and the Politics of Cumulative Disadvantage.” Punishment and Society 19(4): 393416.
Warren, Mark. 2000. Democracy and Association. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Warren, Mark. 2001. Dry Bones Rattling: Community Building to Revitalize American Democracy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Weaver, Vesla and Lerman, Amy. 2010. “Political Consequences of the Carceral State.” American Political Science Review 104(4): 817–33.
Wheelock, Darren. 2011. “A Jury of One’s ‘Peers’: The Racial Impact of Felon Jury Exclusion in Georgia.” Justice System Journal 32(3): 335–59.
White, Ariel. 2015. “Misdemeanor Disenfranchisement? The Demobilizing Effects of Brief Jail Spells on Potential Voters.” Unpublished paper.
White, Ariel and Trump, Kris-Stella. 2016. “The Promises and Pitfalls of 311 Data.” Urban Affairs Review 54(4): 794823.
Wildeman, Christopher, Hacker, Jacob, and Weaver, Vesla. 2014. “Detaining Democracy? Criminal Justice and American Civic Life.” The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 651(1): 621.
Williams, Quintin. 2015. “Returning Citizens? The Path from Prison to Politics among the Formerly Incarcerated.” Master’s thesis, Loyola University, Chicago.
Wilson, David, Owens, Michael Leo, and Davis, Darren. 2015. “How Racial Attitudes and Ideology Affect Political Rights for Felons.” Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race 12(1): 7393.
Wong, Janelle. 2006. Democracy’s Promise: Immigrants and American Civic Institutions. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Perspectives on Politics
  • ISSN: 1537-5927
  • EISSN: 1541-0986
  • URL: /core/journals/perspectives-on-politics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×
Type Description Title
PDF
Supplementary materials

Owens and Walker supplementary material
Appendix

 PDF (477 KB)
477 KB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score