Independent Research Abstracts

Racism in American Policing? Or, Building a Race War? A Discussion

Jake Gobielle, Western Washington University

Misinterpretation of data on police-citizen contacts often result in claims that police are “racist”. This conclusion is further confounded due to issues concerning the logic of police management and the geography of crime. This paper challenges simplistic conclusions of racism by detailing the logic of policing calls for service in minority jurisdictions. Police as a scarce resource are often deployed intentionally to best serve those areas with the greatest demand for social control services. Minorities, as disproportionate consumers of police services, are also the focus of enhanced police surveillance. These and related claims concerning the backdrop of unequal social organization form the basis for a discussion of the complex reality of racism in contemporary US policing.

Partisan Politics and Post Incarceration Civil Penalties

Tristan de Rochefort, Western Washington University

This paper focuses on contrasting Conservative and Liberal Ideologies and links these to expectations about patterns of post-incarceration civil sanctions regimes across US states. Conservatives tend to favor individual choice and free market decision making while also emphasizing a consequentialist philosophy regarding rewards and punishments. Liberals take an interventionist approach in many aspects of markets and social policy, favoring a strong regulatory environment and individual level controls to engineer favorable decision outcomes. These contrasting images are useful in deriving a hypothesis that partisan politics will predict variation in post incarceration civil sanctions across the states. The empirical results document a strong inverse association between conservative partisan politics and the level of sanctions across these post incarceration regulatory regimes. These post incarceration results contrast with partisan patterns observed in the sentencing literature and present direct challenges to conventional expectations. The utility of theory is discussed along with policy implications derived from the empirical patterns in this research.

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