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Carceral geographies: Mapping the escape routes from mass incarceration

Jonathan Simon, professor of law | September 18, 2014

Today and tomorrow (Sept. 18-19, 2014) at UC Berkeley we will be launching a new undergraduate course thread titled “Carceral Geographies.” Our launch will begin with a keynote address by the great Ruth “Ruthie” Wilson Gimore, scholar/activist extraordinaire who has given us the definitive study of California’s descent into mass incarceration, Golden Gulags: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, … Continue reading »

Ferguson and human dignity

Jonathan Simon, professor of law | August 27, 2014

Michael Brown was buried Monday (August 25, 2014) in St. Louis, near his hometown of Ferguson, Mo. As the world knows by now, two weeks ago the 18-year-old recent high-school graduate was shot six times and killed by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. Michael Brown was unarmed, and the reasons for Officer Wilson’s actions have yet … Continue reading »

Mass incarceration, mass deportation: Twin legacies of governing through crime

Jonathan Simon, professor of law | December 23, 2013

One afflicts mostly American citizens, disproportionately those of African American and Latino backgrounds from areas of concentrated poverty, but also many white and middle class citizens who fall into the hands of police and prosecutors.  The other afflicts exclusively non-citizens living in the U.S. without federal authorization or in violation of the terms of their … Continue reading »

Realignment time: The prison crisis comes home

Jonathan Simon, professor of law | August 7, 2012

Norimitsu Onishi takes a sobering look at California’s emerging “realigment” policy in this morning’s NYTimes [ed: Aug. 6, 2012] (read it here). The state’s major response to the humanitarian disaster in its state prisons, and the Supreme Court confirmed order to reduce the prison population by approximately 40,000 prisoners, has been to channel many people … Continue reading »

The poor storm: Ending mass incarceration in America

Jonathan Simon, professor of law | February 2, 2012

“But every society has a poor storm that wretches suffer in, and the attitude is always the same: either that the wretches, already dehumanized by their suffering, deserve no pity or that the oppressed, overwhelmed by injustice, will have to wait for a better world. At every moment, the injustice seems inseparable from the community’s … Continue reading »

David Onek for San Francisco D.A.

Jonathan Simon, professor of law | November 7, 2011

California’s dramatic pivot toward giving counties primary responsibility for punishment over a wide swath of persons convicted of felonies, a policy known as realignment, is the most important move toward dismantling mass incarceration in this state in forty years. As I have argued here before, there is both great promise and peril in this experiment. … Continue reading »

Cupcakes, affirmative action and mass incarceration

Jonathan Simon, professor of law | September 28, 2011

Yesterday Berkeley’s College Republicans were generating big crowds on Sproul Plaza and big media coverage with a retread of an old bit of anti-affirmative action agit-prop; a cupcake sale in which prices were set by race (just like academic “preferences” for students of color in admissions, get it). (Read Nanette Asimov’s reporting in the SF … Continue reading »