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Progressive PunishmentJob Loss, Jail Growth and the Neoliberal Logic of Carceral Expansion$
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Judah Schept

Print publication date: 1942

Print ISBN-13: 9781479810710

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479810710.001.0001

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“Red Neck” and “Unsocialized,” with “Subcultural Norms and Values”

“Red Neck” and “Unsocialized,” with “Subcultural Norms and Values”

Constructing Cultural Poverty and Caring Cages

(p.71) 3 “Red Neck” and “Unsocialized,” with “Subcultural Norms and Values”
Progressive Punishment

Judah Schept

NYU Press

Part 2, which contains chapters 3 and 4, focuses narrowly on the logics of crime and punishment that constructed a population in need of carceral treatment and a benevolent complex of facilities to provide it. Chapter 3 examines these logics as they gave shape and structure to the proposal for the new jail. The chapter looks at the ways supporters of the justice campus justified expansion through an imagined jail(able) population of county residents described in terms that conflated economic and moral poverty. While many of these same research informants frequently identified the structural conditions of capitalism as the central problem underlying mass incarceration, they constructed a local individuated, unacculturated, and pathological criminal and proposed solutions grounded in individual, moralistic, and redemptive change. In constructing the county poor as not only occupying fragile economic situations but also as possessing a set of racialized and inferior behavioral and cultural practices, local leaders justified a facility predicated on education, treatment, and acculturation to middle-class status. Importantly, this chapter contrasts ethnographic data with available local statistics on the jail population to interrogate the local construction of crime and criminality. Chapter 3 also examines more closely the rehabilitative logics that officials positioned as endemic to the county and thus distinct from the logics of the carceral state. Using testimonies from local officials in interviews and county meetings, the chapter examines the structuring logics that guided discussions of jail expansion while also interrogating how such logics located the community as a nodal point in the diffuse articulation of mass incarceration.

Keywords:   Jails, Carceral humanism, Culture of poverty, Cultural racism, Therapeutic justice

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