Why Inequality Matters for Criminology and Criminal Justice
I am pleased to have had the opportunity to present at the ISA's World Congress of Sociology in Yokohama, Japan in July. This presentation builds on and updates some earlier ones (listed in the RELATED section below).
The presenter, a co-author of The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison, will focus on economic inequality, which receives less attention than race or gender. This paper will start by providing an overview of economic inequality in several developed nations before discussing several ways to conceptualize the inequality between natural and corporate persons. Next, the presentation will summarize the links between inequality and crimes of the poor as well as crimes of the rich, following Braithwaite’s formulation that inequality worsens crimes of need and crimes of greed. The impact of inequality on each stage of the criminal justice system will then be reviewed. Law making is influenced by lobbying. Policing means war on crimes done by the poor and zero tolerance, but deregulation for corporations. Judicial processing and outcomes are heavily influenced by quality of legal assistance and resources. By sentencing, the wealthy and corporations who have harmed workers, consumers and communities have been largely weeded out; it is the poor who get sentenced to prison, reinforcing the belief that they are the most dangerous. The conclusion highlights the importance of ideology in minimizing concern about inequality and its effect on justice.
Manifestations of Poverty (longer lecture for EMU Honors College - 2013)
Criminology Needs More Class: Inequality, Corporate Persons and an Impoverished Discipline (#occupy)
The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison: Inequality, Corporate Power and Crime(Sidore lecture at Plymouth State)