Conference on the Penal State

Other External Scholars:
Loic Wacquant, University of California, Berkeley
Project Date:
Apr 2006
Award Amount:
Project Programs:
Social, Political, and Economic Inequality

For young African-American men, incarceration is now more common than attending college or serving time in the military. In fact, over the past thirty years, the portion of the population involved with the U.S. correctional system at some point in their lives grew seven-fold to include 6 percent of the total adult male population and 25 percent of all African-American men. Although the population most visibly affected by the increase in incarceration is that of the black urban poor, the prison boom has affected, and been affected by, change in the general society. With Foundation support, sociologists Bruce Western and Loic Wacquant will organize a conference examining the social, political, economic, and cultural correlates of the expansion of American criminal justice. Topics to be discussed include the impact on labor markets of the thousands of ex-convicts returning to society each year searching for legal work, the ramifications for American democracy of 4.7 million adults disenfranchised because of criminal histories, and the way criminal justice has been affected by national battles against terrorism. Papers from the conference will be submitted to journals for publication.


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