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For Love and Justice: The Mobilizing of Race, Gender, and Criminal Justice Contact

  • Hannah L. Walker (a1) and Marcela García-Castañon (a2)
Abstract

This paper examines the political implications of the criminal justice system for those who experience it indirectly: the friends and extended families of individuals who become caught up in the criminal justice system through heightened police surveillance, arrest, probation/parole and incarceration, which scholars have termed “custodial citizenship” (Lerman and Weaver 2014, 8). Contact with the criminal justice system is increasingly common in the United States, which incarcerates more of its citizens than any other western democracy (West, Sabol, and Greenman 2010). In addition to the 2.3 million people currently behind bars scholars estimate that more than 19 million have a felony (Uggen, Manza, and Thompson 2006). Fully 23% of Black adults have a criminal background, and Latinos make up 50% of federal inmates, highlighting extreme racial disparities in American criminal justice (Meissner et al. 2013). A growing body of research explores the impact of criminal justice contact on political participation finding that depressed voter turnout is the result whether one has been incarcerated, arrested, or lives in a high-contact community (Burch 2011, 2013; Lerman and Weaver 2014).

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Politics & Gender
  • ISSN: 1743-923X
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