Mary Fainsod Katzenstein

Cornell University

Mary Fainsod Katzenstein, professor of government at Cornell University, is preparing a book on federal policy and its impact on the growth of prisons. Katzenstein will study federal policies across legislative, judicial, and executive arenas and examine three significant issues: the weakening of voting rights for ex-felons, mandatory drug sentencing, and the withdrawal of funding for prison education. What impact, for example, did the federal drug laws of the 1980s, with their heavier penalties for crack than for powder cocaine, have on the racially-patterned character of incarceration in American society? And what effect has Congress's 1994 decision to rescind prisoner access to federal Pell grants had on the statewide collapse of other educational opportunities like technical and vocational training? In her assessment of federal prison policy, Katzenstein will examine the alignments (and divisions) among federal institutions, the interplay of federal and state institutional policy, and potential avenues for reform.


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