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Building the Prison StateRace and the Politics of Mass Incarceration$
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Heather Schoenfeld

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226520964

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226521152.001.0001

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Recession-Era Colorblind Politics and the Challenge of Decarceration, 2008–2016

Recession-Era Colorblind Politics and the Challenge of Decarceration, 2008–2016

(p.192) Chapter Seven Recession-Era Colorblind Politics and the Challenge of Decarceration, 2008–2016
Building the Prison State

Heather Schoenfeld

University of Chicago Press

This chapter discusses policy reform between 2008 and 2016 in the context of the Great Recession, Tea Party politics, the decreased salience of crime, and the high costs of incarceration. The chapter argues that Tea Party politics led to reform efforts by Florida conservatives and worsening conditions inside of prisons. It further finds that the colorblind project of the recession era precluded racial disparity in imprisonment or the collateral consequences of racialized imprisonment as a policy problem. In addition, it describes the challenges to reform created by the persistence of the carceral ethos, the complexity of penal policy after years of expansion, and the entrenched interests created by the growth of carceral capacity.

Keywords:   Great Recession, Tea Party, prison conditions, racial disparity, prison town, corrections officers, prison reform, criminal justice

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