Work-in-Progress Series provided by the WSRSL Faculty Professional Development Committee
Hadar Aviram, Associate Professor UC Hastings College of Law
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
12:45 p.m. –2:00 p.m.William S. Richardson School of Law
Contemporary accounts of criminal justice discourse in the U.S. often highlight the increasing punitivenessin political and public discourse since the late 1970s. Recent developments, however, point to a swing-back in the punitive pendulum, due to the current financial crisis. In this project, I identify these developments as an emerging discourse of resource scarcity, which I call "humonetarianism". More than a mere additional consideration, the discourse of scarcity permeates all aspects of the criminal process, from decriminalization, through alternative punishments, prison restructuring, and a narrowing of the parole web. All these examples share several common elements: an emergency discourse, characterized by short-term solutions; an unwillingness to engage in deep discussions; political bipartisanism; and, more flexibility around the boundaries of the "sayable", in a way that allows politicians to sound "soft on crime". While humonetariandiscourse may seem to be a reversal of the political "tough on crime" stance, and a welcome (to some) step away from public punitivenessand mass incarceration, it is, in fact, firmly rooted in the actuarial/managerial paradigm of U.S. correctional policy. The project identifies the potential of cost-driven discourse to reverse punitive policies, and also draws attention to some serious problems associated with this paradigm -mainly, its shortsightedness and its dehumanizing aspects.
RSVP with Princess Soares (email@example.com), by Thursday, February 17, 2011.
Light lunches to be served. Limited Seating.