Feb 14, 2011

A Different Kind of Democracy: The "Political Consequences of the Carceral State"

In a recent diavlog on bloggingheads.tv.com, Professor Vesla Weaver of the University of Virginia, and Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute, go head to head in a debate that is intitially focused on Ms. Weaver's new article, "Political Consequences of the Carceral State." The discussion soon evolves into a much broader, and somewhat contentious, discussion of topical criminal justice issues, ranging from the disparity of arrest rates between white and black communities, and disagreements over criminal justice stats.

Even more interesting than the debate is the article itself, which examines the ways that involvement with the criminal justice system influences political attitudes and behaviors.  As Ms. Weaver describes in the debate, many individuals in communities with high police presence "see a fundamentally different kind of democracy." This "democracy" is one to avoid at all cost.  These interactions not only influence one's level of public trust in democratic institutions and processes, but effect his/her liklihood of civic engagement, from voting to attending a PTA meeting. Read the article here.