Workshop Syllabus & Readings
Liman Public Interest Workshop
Fall 2013 Syllabus
Mondays, 6:10-8 pm, room 124
Hope Metcalf, Director, Liman Public Interest Program
Megan Quattlebaum, Senior Liman Fellow in Residence
Judith Resnik, Arthur Liman Professor of Law
Ashbel T. Wall II, Visiting Lecturer and Director, Rhode Island Department of Corrections
Student Conveners: Jessica Asrat, Emma Kaufman, Josh Levin
The practices of incarceration have changed over time. The numbers of people in jails and prisons rose substantially from the 1970s through the present, with some leveling off or modest declines in recent years in a few jurisdictions. As of 2011, some 1.6 million persons were in jails or prisons. Some 5.1 million people were under supervision through probation, parole, and supervised release. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, one in 107 American adults was behind bars, a rate roughly five times the worldwide average, and one in 50 was under some type of supervision.
Incarceration does not have the same impact on all who live in the United States; race, gender, age, nationality, and ethnicity interact to affect the likelihood that one will be detained or have family and community members in detention. People of color are disproportionately in prison. In 2009, African Americans and Latinos constituted more than 60% of imprisoned offenders. African American males were incarcerated in state and federal prisons at 6.4 times the rate of non-Hispanic white males, and Hispanic males at 2.4 times the rate of non-Hispanic whites. African American women are incarcerated at a rate 2.8 times that of non-Hispanic whites.
Participants in this Workshop will explore the history of detention and imprisonment in the United States; the rise of detention facilities owned and operated by the private sector; the use of specific forms of detention such as solitary confinement and specialized supermax facilities; and growing concerns about the costs -- financial, dignitary, social and political -- of the system now in use. Our sessions will address the law of prisons, the market for prisons, and the perspectives of those who direct prisons, who work in them, and who are detained by them. We will consider the degree of oversight that courts, legislatures, and other actors have in shaping the parameters of permissible sanctions and regulating conditions of confinement. In addition to understanding U.S. law and practices, we will consider comparisons by drawing on transnational materials. 2 units, credit/fail. H. Metcalf, M. Quattlebaum, J. Resnik, and A.T. Wall.
Requirements and Readings
This Workshop is a two-unit, ungraded course. We meet weekly; preparation and attendance at these discussions is required for credit. If you need to miss a class, please be in touch with the professors in advance of the meeting. Students missing more than two sessions without permission will not receive credit.
The readings for the workshop, required to be read, include both those listed on the syllabus as well as student postings. Six times during the semester, students must post on “Inside Yale” a one-page reflection on readings -- due NO LATER than 9 a.m. on the Monday mornings of the workshop -- as well as send a set by email to instructors. We will all use these readings to launch our weekly discussions. Each person seeking credit is responsible for posting at least six times in the semester, and a failure to do on time results in receiving no credit. Readings are also posted on this website. Those interested in pursuing additional research for supervised analytic or substantial writing requirements should consult individually with the instructors.
September 9 Windows into the Law and Experiences of Incarceration
September 16 The Challenges of Administration and Management: Standard Setting
September 23 Allocating and Contesting Authority
September 30 Racial Disparities and Discrimination: Theories and Sociologies of Incarceration
October 7 Sociability, Organizations, and Communities: In and Out of Prisons
October 21 Mental Illness, Social Services, and Incarceration
October 28 Sex, Gender, Safety and Regulation
November 4 Constructing and Responding to Gendered Roles
November 11 Safety, Segregation, and Isolation
November 18 Privatization and Incarceration
December 2 When and Where Does Prison End (and Where Does it Begin)
December 9 Reforming or Aspiring to End Incarceration as a Practice