Special Editors: Christopher Wildeman, Jacob S. Hacker, and Vesla M. Weaver
The United States’ government’s role and power in punishing its citizens has swelled considerably since the 1970s. The prison population is now five times what it was 35 years ago, and other government interventions, such as the use of stop-and-frisk, are expanding. Such changes in the criminal justice system have not been met with an examination of the criminal justice system’s effects on civic life and political participation.
This volume of The ANNALS fills this gap, by exploring the impacts of the heightened police state on the civic and political life of minority and low-income citizens. The authors of this volume analyze how the state’s increased criminal sanctions have advanced inequality, and explore issues of legitimacy and citizenship for individuals and communities. By shifting the conversation from how politics affect punishment to how punishment affects politics, this volume provides a nuanced lens for examining the consequences of our current criminal justice framework.