Thursday, June 6, 2013

Two things you should read in their entirety

The first is Mike Konczal's analysis of the drivers of mass incarceration, "Against Law, For Order"
As Bernard Harcourt examines in The Illusion of Order, broken windows policing is predicated on separating neighborhoods into regular, ordered insiders and disordered strangers. [James Q.] Wilson’s view is that regular insiders are the “decent folks” who need to be protected from the disorder generated by strangers. The police, rather than upholding laws and the rights of citizens, uphold order by regulating the behaviors of disorderly insiders and excluding the disorderly outsiders. Criminals lose their insider status in this telling, and excluding them from the community becomes a goal of law. The approach is based on a privileging of order over law, for a lack of order is what attracts criminal behavior, always waiting in the wings to descend.
The second is this short piece from TPM.
A Texas man, Ezekiel Gilbert, has been acquitted of murder after shooting and killing a 23 year old escort he found on craigslist because she would not have sex with him even after paying her $150 fee.

Gilbert was acquitted under a Texas law that allows you to use deadly force to protect your property during a nighttime theft. In this case, the property was either the $150 or the use-rights to the body of 23 year old Lenora Ivie Frago. Frago said she couldn’t give back the money because she had to give it to the driver who was waiting for her.
At the risk of putting too fine a point on this, these deadly force laws have always been about keeping people in their place, socially, economically, racially. Crimes against people who rank low on the hierarchy are seen as less heinous in this Wilson-like view and Ms. Frago ranked low in the eyes of the jury. I think it's safe to say that if a prostitute had killed a man in Texas because he had refused to pay after sex, she would certainly be in prison and probably be on death row.

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