Why Is There No Criminology of Wage Theft?
I used the 2016 American Society of Criminology Conference to present on a new line of research. Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Cambria",serif; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} Why is there no criminology of wage theft? (wrongful withholding of $50 billion of wages earned) Wage theft, also known as wage and hour violations, happen when employers do not pay employees for all the hours they worked, do not pay them time and a half for overtime, make wrongful... continue reading »

Crime and Mass Incarceration: Reform or a 'New Normal'
The folks over at University of Michigan's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) asked to come back for another lecture.I had been doing some research for the 11th edition of The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison to update the opening of the book. It will be/came out Oct 2016 and I'm skeptical about how much will be accomplished. But see what you think. 1. Here is the incarceration rate, to show how much has been accomplished so far; it may or may not match the amount of bipartisan hype about the need for sentencing reform.   2. So what are... continue reading »

Private Prisons: An Incomplete Survey
I had the opportunity to Chair and present at an excellent session at the 4th Annual East Asian Law and Society conference in Tokyo, Japan. The session itself was titled Privatization and Public-Private Partnerships with Prisons and Corrections: Benefits, Concerns and Models. My paper was titled Models of Privatization and Public-Private Partnerships with Prisons: An Incomplete Survey. Abstract: Israel has no private prisons, thanks to a decision by the High Court of Justice that privately run prisons were unconstitutional; that having a profit motive in running a prison nullifies the legitimacy of punishment and violates the rights of the people... continue reading »

Why Private Prisons Do Not Save Money
This presentation, which looks at the overhead costs of private prisons, was done in 2008 and subsequently became a chapter in Punishment for Sale (co-authored with Donna Selman). At that time, Dana Radatz was my graduate assistant who was very helpful in collecting the data and organizing it in a meaningful way. Why Private Prisons Do Not Save Money: Overhead Costs and Executive PayDownload .pdf of presentationDownload .pptx of presentation RELATEDPrison Privatization in US and Japan (2014 presentation and information on Shimane Asahi Rehabilitation Center - a Japanese high-tech, public-private partnership) The problems with private prisons (2011 and 2013 presentations) ... continue reading »

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).  ABSTRACT: 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... continue reading »

The Problems with Private Prisons
I have followed up my co-authored Punishment for Sale book by giving several presentations, which I have posted below. The first is a general overview of concerns and critiques about private prisons that I presented at the International Criminology Congress in Kobe, Japan in 2011. The second is one I did for a statewide forum on prison privatization, mass incarceration and prison reform here in Michigan in 2013. While the latter is more specific in focusing on Michigan, its analysis is applicable to other states.  The problems with private Prisons (2011 - International Criminology Congress) Problems With Private Prisons (2011)In... continue reading »

Criminology Needs More Class: Inequality, Corporate Persons and an Impoversihed Discipline
My presentation at the 2012 American Society of Criminology conference was entitled Criminology Needs More Class: Inequality, Corporate Persons and an Impoverished Discipline (#occupy). It is a condensed and updated version of the Sidore lecture I gave, The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison: Inequality, Corporate Power and Crime. ABSTRACT:Criminology generally does not collect data on class, which is more likely to be "controlled” for than explained. The discipline is interested in psychopaths engaged in street crime but not white collar crime or the harms done by corporate “persons” who act without conscience. Strain theory is taught without... continue reading »

Inequality, Corporate Power and Crime Presentation
I had the pleasure of being invited to give the Saul Sidore lecture at Plymouth State University last week. It was titled The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison: Inequality, Corporate Power and Crime. The first part of the lecture is an overview of class, including income, wealth, economic mobility and corporate power. It is descriptive rather than making a moral or justice argument (although it does report on some surveys on our feelings about inequality). The second part discusses implications of inequality for criminology based on Braithwaite's idea that inequality worsens both crimes of poverty motivated by need... continue reading »

TSA 'Pornoscan': Here's what it looks like
For all the discussion about whether the body scans by the Transportation Security Administration is appropriate, I have seen few photos. In this case, I think it is important to have this as a data point, so we know what we are talking about as far as an invasion of privacy goes. Then, we can talk about the benefits and tradeoffs. So, here's a screencapture of a .pdf that was part of a challenge by the Electronic Privacy Information Center against the scanners.  They have copies of their briefs and those filed by the Dept of Homeland Security, so this... continue reading »

Punishment for Sale: Private Prisons, Big Business and the Incarceration Binge
One of my offline projects has been a book on private prisons I've been writing with my friend and colleague Donna Selman. I'm pleased to say the book is now out and available: Punishment for Sale: Private Prisons, Big Business and the Incarceration Binge (Rowman and Littlefield, 2010). Those who have been reading the blog, my websites or other books will not be surprised that the book is critical of the impact for-profit, Wall Street traded, multi-billion dollar international prison business have had on justice and public safety.The book is relatively short (240 pages) and cheap (about $25 new). (more... continue reading »

Top 50 Justice Blogs (yes, PaulsJusticeBlog is one of them) just published an article listing what they consider to be the top 50 justice blogs. Consistent with the sentiment of this site and my books, they note that while the U.S. has made some great strides toward equality, we have not reached or goal. (I'd say that we will never reach the goal; it will always be a struggle for more equality.) They suggest that an important part of the battle is increased awareness and thus want to bring attention to justice bloggers. As the headline of this post notes, PaulsJusticeBlog is on the list (see #4). But I'm... continue reading »

What Music Was Used to Coerce Guantanamo Detainees?
Most of us have been trapped somewhere and forced to listen to music we don't like, so we have a sense that muzak can be annoying as well as the blaring and thumping of tunes from the car next to us. But music is also used in hostage and standoff situations, and it was used to help coerce detainees at Guantanamo to cooperate in revealing information. There's some info from a Washington Post article (Torture songs spur a protest most vocal) that reports on a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking records on how music was used in the... continue reading »

Memo to Presidential Candidates on the Financial Crisis
Both candidates did a lousy job in last night's debate discussing the current financial crisis. From having talked about it here for the last few weeks, I have a modest suggestion on how to talk about it to the American people in a way that may instill confidence. 1. Recognize how important this is - if the financial crisis doesn't get resolved favorably, then it will be impossible to do anything. Health care reform and use of our military will be much harder if we're in a Depression. 2. You need to make sure that $700 billion is well spent. Priority... continue reading »

Domestic Violence Survivor Art
I'm on the Board of our local domestic violence shelter, SafeHouse, and was down there tonight to help with the start of training. Seeing the T-shirts made by survivors, reminded me I had this I took a while ago with my cell phone.  [click for a slightly larger version]  I took his one while I was there this time...[click for a larger version] With the economy in Southeast Michigan a bit worse than average for the nation, the SaftHouse budget is under stress (understatements all around). For anyone who is interested, here info on donations - and you can also... continue reading »

July 4, 2008
July 4 is usually fun - picnic, fireworks, a day off. But it is also a time to reflect on the founding of the country - our independence from England, and, as I've written about before, some of the values that served as the foundation for the new country. Today's lesson comes courtesy of  Boumrdiene v Bush, the recent Supreme Court case involving a detainee in Guantanamo suing the President for holding him without due process. The Court sides with the detainee and provides a nice discussion about habeas corpus, aka The Great Writ, which is the mechanism used to... continue reading »

DC v Heller and the Future of Gun Control
The Supreme Court just hear arguments in a case that potentially has important implications for the Second Amendment and gun control. It's the first time the Court has taken on meaningful issues on this topic in almost 70 years and argument actually seemed to focus substantive issues rather than a technical resolution (relating to DC not being a state but under the oversight of the Federal Govt). As this post details, the case has a variety of briefs with some surprises in terms of how positions fall out. My comment on this case will be limited to Vice President Cheney... continue reading »

Sex Toys and Sexual Privacy: Texas Anti-Vibrator Law Struck Down
In 1979, Texas passed an obscenity law that a recent ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals described as "prohibit[ing] the 'promotion' and 'wholesale promotion' of 'obscene devices,' which includes selling, giving, lending, distributing, or advertising for them" (Reliable Consultants v Earle # 06-51067). A 1985 decision by a Texas court upheld the law because they found there was no constitutional right to “stimulate . . . another’s genitals with an object designed or marketed as useful primarily for that purpose.” Lest you think that this is just a Texas problem, Mississippi, Alabama, Virginia, Louisiana, Kansas and Colorado have... continue reading »

Corrections Corporation of America Votes Down Transparency on Political Donations
As part of work for a new project (more details to come soon), I've been reviewing the Securities and Exchange Commission filings of the Corrections Corporation of America, which is the largest private prison company in the US. Each year, companies traded ont he stock exchange have annual meetings where shareholders get to vote on issues related to governance, which are reported in form 14A (definitive proxy). For 2007, the following proposal by a group of activist shareholder nuns caught my eye. What's in the box below is the exact writeup from CCA's 2007 14A (see p 29-31):  PROPOSAL 5... continue reading »

I Have A Dream
 This picture is from Detroit's Labor Day Parade. I wrote about it at the time - the professors' union was on strike and walking in the parade. This was a photo I took bit didn't use at the time.  ... continue reading »

Supreme Court, Standing & Global Warming: Everything You Wanted to Know About Standing But Were Afraid to Ask
In the last post, I previewed several Supreme Court cases, including Massachusetts v Environmental Protection Agency, where the Court is deciding if EPA can be compelled to regulate greenhouse gases as pollutants. I commented:I'll take a wild guess that the main issue will be standing, the legal doctrine about the ability of a party to sue (in this about the level and directness of harm)...  I'd look for the Court to duck the substantive issue in favor of a narrow, technical/procedural ruling that disposes of the case and leaves the status quo in place.The direction of oral argument seems to... continue reading »

Supreme Court: Anti-trust, Global Warming & Affirmative Action
Following up on the previous post about the abortion cases the Supreme Court is hearing, here's some information about others regarding anti-trust law that could be very consumer unfriendly, global warming that could be very unfriendly to the earth's inhabitants, and affirmative-action that could be very minority and diversity unfriendly.  The overviews of each case are from Cornell Law's case preview combined with some of my own commentary. Weyerhaeuser Co. v. Ross-Simmons Hardwood Lumber Co., Inc. (05-381)For anyone interested in the concentration of corporate power, this is a case to follow. Don't get bogged down in the technical details of... continue reading »

Supreme Court Abortion Cases (Gonzales v Planned Parenthood, Gonzales v Carhart)
As a law geek scholar skeptical of media, I try to read original sources where possible, and I subscribe to a service of Cornell Law School that emails a summary of Supreme Court cases, along with a link to the full text of the opinion. It's interesting to see that the vast majority of what the Court does is dry, technical and not of much interest outside the immediate parties - or perhaps to specialized fields. Obviously, the abortion cases are in a different category, and I wanted to share some info on them for those who wanted to dig... continue reading »

$ War $ Terrorism $ Oil $ (Follow the Money)
A helpful bit of advice for understanding many situations is to follow the money. Seeing who is profiting and paying often makes sense of what's happening and why. I've used this idea to llok and criminal justice and private prisons - the crime pays part of PaulsJusticePage. But I was still suprised to read "Oil price rise fuels leap in US arms sales."Yes, it's obvious that Exxon and other oil companies are making a killing from high oil prices. But Saudi Arabia is also sitting on piles of cash and is buying U.S. arms, with the Pentagon taking a cut.... continue reading »

Inequality, Justice & Protecting Liberty: A 4th of July Welcome to PaulsJusticeBlog
“Those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards,” wrote Supreme Court Justice Brandeis: “They did not exalt order at the cost of liberty” (Whitney v California, 274 US 357, 1927). The radicals who founded this country were not only brave enough to fight, but were not afraid to articulate their belief in the importance of freedom and argue it through to the logical conclusion of a government dependent on The People, who were free to change it. They wrote in the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,... continue reading »