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Convicted and CondemnedThe Politics and Policies of Prisoner Reentry$
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Keesha M. Middlemass

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780814724392

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814724392.001.0001

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Public Hostility

Public Hostility

(p.171) Conclusion Public Hostility
Convicted and Condemned

Keesha M. Middlemass

NYU Press

The concluding chapter makes clear that despite the negative outcomes for felons reentering society, a felony conviction has many “useful” purposes rooted in historical practices and politics. A felony conviction is a powerful tool that is integral to maintaining a discourse about “us” versus “them” that fuses distinct social-economic institutions, such as housing, education, and employment, to the criminal justice system. This chapter describes how the term “felon” defines an individual’s worth in such a way as to become a simple short-cut that widens the net of policies, maintains the broader social system of white supremacy, supports legal and political structures and tough-on-crime initiatives, and extends the original punishment to socially disable men and women convicted of a felony. This chapter argues that the negative externalities that restrict felons from accessing critical public assistance engender failure in the returning population, resulting in recidivism, and reinforce the concept of retribution.

Keywords:   felony conviction, recidivism, socially disable, white supremacy

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