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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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Organizing against Expansion

Organizing against Expansion

(p.195) 8 Organizing against Expansion
Progressive Punishment

Judah Schept

NYU Press

While most chapters offer only glimpses into the local community organizing that challenged carceral expansion, Part 4 ends the book with a more robust examination. Chapter 8 looks primarily, although not exclusively, at one group, Decarcerate Monroe County (DMC), which organized around abolitionist principles and in opposition to the justice campus. DMC’s work in Bloomington was difficult, as the group tried to construct a critique and enact a politics that disrupted the local liberal narrative of exceptional incarceration. Indeed, officials’ embrace of therapeutic justice and rehabilitation and active critique of punishment presented a formidable challenge to organizers against jail expansion. Organizers had to refine their analysis of the state and punishment to articulate a coherent critique of allegedly benevolent municipal criminal justice. Moreover, organizers encountered discursive and strategic challenges when county officials spoke not only of rehabilitation and human rights but also of debate, consensus, and public opinion. Thus, community organizers faced campaigns that relied on liberal discourses of incarceration to envision carceral expansion and the rhetoric of democratic process and community consensus to legitimate them. Chapter 8 examines DMC’s internal politics and processes as well as the group’s interventions into county carceral politics. In addition, the chapter includes a brief "insurrectionary interlude" to discuss some sabotage and other higher-risk activities undertaken in the city to halt incarceration.

Keywords:   Abolition, Community organizing, Decarceration, Group process, Resistance to incarceration

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