Review Essay: Anthropologies of the U.S. Criminal Justice System

Review Essay: Anthropologies of the U.S. Criminal Justice System

6.8 million people in the United States— roughly 1 in 36 adults— are under some form of correctional supervision via incarceration in jails and prisons or through court-mandated reporting requirements to probation or parole officers (U.S. Department of Justice 2016). Three recent books, criminologists Michael D. White’s and Henry F. Fradella’s Stop and Frisk: The Use and Abuse of a Controversial Policing Tactic, sociologist Patrisia Macías-Rojas’ From Deportation to Prison: The Politics of Immigration Enforcement in Post-Civil Rights America, and anthropologist Damien Sojoyner’s First Strike: Educational Enclosures in Black Los Angeles, reviewed in this essay identify how the criminal justice system both reflects and replicates historical injustices that remain deeply embedded in the U.S. social fabric. Each book uniquely demonstrates the complex means by which the ancillary arms of the carceral apparatus took on increasingly nuanced forms in the post-Civil Rights era, when sweeping federal, state, municipal, and dominant cultural reforms began to prohibit overtly discriminatory policing, arrest, and sentencing practices. Yet despite such significant socio-legal reforms, these three books emphasize how criminal justice practices continue to curtail freedom of movement and civil liberties among people of color.

The U.S. criminal justice system, the largest in the world, is of particular interest to political and legal anthropologists because of the fundamental questions that the system’s practices raise. U.S.-based ethnographic work has engaged with facets of the criminal justice system, including work on addiction and homelessness (Carr 2010; Bourgois and Schonberg 2009), policing (Fassin 2013; Garriott 2011), and prison (Rhodes 2004). For the past three decades, increasing numbers of U.S. anthropologists have begun to conduct research in the U.S., a disciplinary shift attributed to dwindling funds for international research and critiques of anthropology as a neocolonial endeavor (Cattelino 2010). Significant restructuring of the academic profession during the same time period has indisputably influenced the number of anthropologists doing research in the U.S., as the ongoing disappearance of tenure-track professorships in Anthropology departments means that anthropologists are often faculty in departments outside their home field or working in other professions entirely. These significant shifts have encouraged anthropologists to engage with wider disciplinary and professional frames of reference in their analyses of the criminal justice system, including work from Sociology and Criminology.

Critical engagement with culture — arguably Anthropology’s greatest disciplinary strength — offers particular insights into the densely knotted historical-cultural byproducts of slavery, racism, xenophobia, and the fear-based punitive focus on drug crimes that have all contributed to mass incarceration. Political and legal anthropologists will be particularly interested in the respective analyses of Stop and Frisk, From Deportation to Prison, and First Strike regarding the causes and consequences of mass incarceration, the role human rights discourse plays in the U.S. criminal justice system and movements to reform or abolish it, and the powerful operations of discretion in the everyday encounters between individuals and the police officers, Border Patrol workers, school security staff, and other state agents tasked with their oversight.

Engaging with Post-Civil Rights Era Criminal Justice and Policing Practices

Stop and Frisk comprises six chapters and an epilogue that critically engage with constitutional and civil rights debates on the titular policing practice, in which an officer may temporarily detain, question, and search a person suspected of lawbreaking. The book focuses specifically on the five decades of socio-legal change that transpired between two state supreme court cases related to stop, question, and frisk (SQF) policing: Terry v. Ohio (1968), which legitimized the practice as necessary to public safety and Floyd v. City of New York (2013) which found the practice unconstitutional because it disproportionately targeted people of color. In Chapter One, White and Fradella provide cultural context to these court rulings by emphasizing the profound questions regarding civil rights and public safety raised by this practice. The authors focus particularly on analyzing court cases and secondary accounts of SQF policing in New York City — where police and senior politicians regard it as responsible for historically low rates of violence — but note that the practice has generated similar controversies in Philadelphia, Newark, Miami Gardens, Baltimore, Chicago, and Detroit. Chapters Two and Three review the historical and legal contexts surrounding SQF policing, including its origins in English common law, its interpretation during the 1960s due process revolution’s focus on individual rights and liberties, and post-Civil Rights era policing’s reliance on race-neutral language to describe crime and policing despite the overrepresentation of people of color in the U.S. criminal justice system. Chapter Four examines the collateral consequences that emerged from SQF policing’s impacts on communities of color nationwide, noting that the role of this policing practice in improving public safety remains questionable at best given its strong reliance on individual officers’ discretionary decision-making. Chapters Five and Six contend that SQF is an appropriate policing practice when officers have the training, administrative oversight, and inner resources necessary to adhere to procedural justice standards.

From Deportation to Prison consists of six chapters and an introduction that documents the expansion of the federal Criminal Alien Program (CAP) from the 1980s forward as a means to remove undocumented migrants from jails and prisons overcrowded by dramatically intensified rates of prosecution and sentencing for drug-related offenses against U.S. citizens of color. Macías-Rojas’ archival research and ethnographic fieldwork in Arizona-Sonora border towns focuses on the CAP’s expansion into the central means to federally prosecute undocumented migrants. Chapter One examines the rise of mass incarceration in the post-civil rights era by focusing specifically on the shifting political-economic, historical, and socio-legal forces that facilitated Operation Safeguard’s intensified border policing and reliance on rights-based discourse that distinguished ‘victims’ from ‘criminals.’ Chapter Two unpacks how CAP facilitated 400,000 deportations annually, all while remaining well within anti-discriminatory legal provisions that recognize individual rights for those deemed ‘victims of crime’ and endorse prosecution and punishment for others attributed ‘criminal perpetrator’ status. Chapter Three explicates how relationships between the Mexican Consulate, migrants’ rights groups, and the federal, state, and municipal criminal justice entities tasked with CAP’s implementation directly influence Border Patrol agents’ decisions to classify an individual as an ‘undocumented alien,’ who may legally attempt return to the U.S., or a ‘criminal alien,’ who may be prosecuted upon reentry to the U.S. Chapter Four emphasizes how the CAP-related law enforcement practices on the Arizona-Sonora border increase criminal prosecutions of undocumented migrants who are then consequently banned from returning to the U.S. Chapter Five elucidates the CAP’s widespread impact on the everyday lives of border residents, a majority of whom have linguistic and cultural ties to Mexico and depend on cross-border commerce or its policing for their livelihoods. Chapter Six concludes the book by emphasizing that the ostensibly race-neutral approach of criminalizing undocumented status reflects “the legacy of unresolved struggles over the coexistence of slavery and democracy” (Macías-Rojas 2016:170).

First Strike includes five chapters, an introduction, and a conclusion centered on the ethnography of a predominantly Black and Latina/o public high school in Los Angeles, where the author worked as a teacher during his fieldwork. The introduction elucidates the book’s key conceptual theme of enclosure — the systemic curtailment of Black freedom through educational, cultural, geographical, and other forms of containment — and African American organizers’ anti-enclosure resistance. ‘First Strike’ alludes to three critical elements of the book’s conceptual structure: California’s 1994 Three Strikes Law that sentenced third-time offenders to life in prison, W.E.B. Du Bois’ analysis of the Black labor strike that ended the Civil War, and the belief that poor quality education is a cornerstone in the replication and reinforcement of racist socio-historical forces. Chapter One connects the elimination of the arts from public education to the dominant cultural vilification and suppression of African American cultural practices that began during abolitionist movements against slavery. Chapter Two describes how public high school students, teachers and staff variously transmit, accept, and contest the entrenched dominant cultural belief that prisons and militarization are necessary and beneficial to society by advocating particular disciplinary practices and employment options. Chapter Three maintains a focus on Black resistance while tracking the origins — beginning with the 1984 Olympic Games — of the Los Angeles Police Department’s militarization and subsequent punitive measures against Black youth in the forms of prison-like school security and criminal prosecution for relatively minor offenses like truancy. Chapter Four analyses how gendered enclosures pathologize and criminalize African American men and women while advocating a model of ‘respectability’ that forestalls possibilities for radical organizing. Chapter Five synchronizes analysis of the major enclosure models discussed in the book, specifying how each has historically attempted to restrict or eliminate “Black radical formations of education” (Sojoyner 2016:147). The conclusion contends that until Black epistemological frameworks become implemented in public education, dominant cultural models of education will continue to function as agents of oppression.


Race, Citizenship, and Rights in Contemporary Policing

In Stop and Frisk, White and Fradella argue that SQF policing is an appropriate and effective means of ensuring public safety when used appropriately in the context of the technological advancements and foci on procedural justice that define twenty-first century policing. The authors contend that these twenty-first century policing practices— particularly the use of body-worn cameras that document police encounters, external oversight, and rigorous analysis of data on stops and arrests — can enhance police legitimacy in the eyes of all communities. White and Fradella provide numerous examples of how U.S. police departments have successfully implemented hiring practices that screen out individuals ill-suited to police work, continuous training that closely mimics real world police-citizen encounters, and administrative oversight that creates a zero-tolerance climate for discriminatory actions. Building their case for SQF with consideration of multiple perspectives, White and Fradella squarely situate critiques of this policing practice within what they term “the minority view of twenty-first century policing” which “is not defined by advances in policing…but rather by persistent evidence of racial discrimination” (White and Fradella 2016:11). This evidence includes police killings of African American men including Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and Freddie Gray that sparked the Black Lives Matter movement, which, as a political movement quite curiously goes unmentioned in the book. The authors devote considerable attention to debates among policymakers and researchers regarding the reasons for the significant reduction in New York City homicides — from 2,000 in 1992 to an annual average of 540 from 2003 to 2009 — which senior politicians and police officials attribute to the reduction of guns on the street as a direct result of SQF policing’s success. In contrast to this official political stance on SQF’s efficacy, alternative perspectives presented by the authors contend that these high rates were caused by a temporary rise in violence associated with the crack cocaine epidemic and that the real result of SQF policing has been institutional legitimation of over-policing in communities of color since, as the authors note, “location in America…is a proxy for race or ethnicity” (White and Fradella 2016:77).

In From Deportation to Prison, Macías-Rojas argues that carceral liberalism’s race-neutral bifurcation of undocumented migrants into ‘victims’ and ‘criminals’ elides the extensive history of racialized U.S. border policing. Carceral liberalism, the author contends, closely adheres to anti-discrimination legal parameters while directly facilitating intensified criminalization, containment, and control over migrants as well as U.S. citizens from ethno-racial groups that dominant culture associates with ‘migrant’ status. One clear example of this is Operation Streamline, a federal initiative since 2005 in which Border Patrol agents transfer custody of undocumented migrants — generally men from Mexico and Central America — to magistrate-run courts that see an average of seventy migrants a day. Many of them are sentenced to between 65 and 165 days in prison, after which they are deported and barred reentering the U.S. Macías-Rojas uses careful historical analysis to demonstrate Arizona’s pivotal role in shaping U.S. immigration debates, from former Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater’s influence on the law and order approach of the New Right that reigned during Reagan Era War on Drugs initiatives to the birth of the Sanctuary Movement in Arizona churches that housed undocumented refugees fleeing U.S.-backed Central American political regimes. Democratic political elites equally contributed to the contemporary status quo, particularly through President Clinton’s 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, which identified ‘criminal aliens’ as the chief Border Patrol enforcement priority. Macías-Rojas clearly demonstrates how a variety of actors across the U.S. political spectrum appropriated carceral liberalism’s race-neutral language of rights, including federal judges, vigilante ranchers, human rights activists, and migrants themselves. Even though border towns have some of the lowest U.S. crime rates, border security remains a major federal law enforcement priority, such that Douglas, Arizona has one Border Patrol agent for every 17 residents.

In First Strike, Sojoyner argues that state and dominant cultural forces have historically colluded in the construction of educational, cultural, economic, and geographic enclosures that deliberately seek to curtail Black freedom. Specifically, he contends that prevailing notions of the School to Prison Pipeline fail to capture the complex ways that these various forms of enclosure have historically worked to reinforce one another and, in fact, continue to do so in contemporary U.S. society. Sojoyner demonstrates the existence of cultural enclosures through his discussion of how teachers at his public high school fieldsite excluded two Black students from jazz and funk bands while also excising African American cultural history and arts-based curricula. Economic enclosures are evident in Sojoyner’s ethnographic account of students’ aspirations to join the military or work within the prison system, since these are the best-paid and highest status occupations open to them, but which Sojoyner regards as inherently oppressive institutional structures. Sojoyner contends that such cultural and economic enclosures are symptomatic of dominant cultural and institutional forces that have restricted and foreclosed upon African American freedom since slavery. Sojoyner carefully attends to historical and contemporary anti-enclosure resistance throughout the text, including examples of Black abolitionist movements, African American radical student and youth group organizing, and withdrawal from exclusionary socio-institutional systems. He likewise focuses on the socio-institutional response to such resistance, including further economic exclusion, ghettoization, militarization of the police force, and marginalization of Black Studies and associated university student groups. Some feminist scholars will be disappointed that the only systematic attention Sojoyner gives to African American women and girls is in a substantive section, in Chapter Four, on the lack of police attention given to murders of Los Angeles women in sex work. Yet, taken together, Sojoyner’s sweeping analysis of enclosures presents a compelling vision of what ethnography can accomplish in tandem with historical analysis.


Contributions to Political and Legal Anthropology

All three books engage with issues of interest to political and legal anthropologists with respect to the theoretical dialogues they advance and the respective modes through which the authors achieve this goal. Anthropologists have much to learn from Criminology’s tremendous success in influencing law and public policy through practical application of findings derived from research, as anthropologists rarely play a meaningful role in shaping alternatives to the social problems they critique. In this respect, Stop and Frisk is a model for political and legal anthropologists in terms of the extremely clear, realizable, and evidence-based alternatives identified with respect to SQF policing. Anthropological works all too often conclude by offering only cursory mention of possible solutions to social issues described in the meticulous ethnographic detail prized by our discipline. In the worst cases, these solutions offer utopic visions of ‘end poverty/racism/sexism/xenophobia’ that will be summarily dismissed as utterly naïve and unrealizable by policymakers, legislators, and the street-level bureaucrats tasked with the everyday work of law and policy implementation. White and Fradella also raise important theoretical and conceptual questions of interest to political and legal anthropologists, especially with respect to the book’s overarching question of how the highest U.S. courts have engaged with changing socio-cultural norms and population demographics in their interpretations of the U.S. Constitution. Many political and legal anthropologists will likely be fascinated by the authors’ meticulous treatment of how policing and the criminal justice system more generally respond to widespread socio-cultural change, particularly Chapter Five’s review of the historical and cultural forces that produced twenty-first century policing.

Both Macías-Rojas and Sojoyner offer significant contributions to political and legal anthropology in their focus on cultural constructions of ethnicity, race, and citizenship in multicultural societies. Political and legal anthropologists working in cultures shaped by the enduring impacts of colonial socioeconomic engineering and postcolonial migration — including but certainly not limited to Brazil, South Africa, the Caribbean, and Fiji — will be particularly interested in each of these authors’ ethnographic reflections. Both authors emphasize the power and control dynamic evident with respect to punishment and containment as contemporary manifestations of a long U.S. history of racism and xenophobia directed at ethno-racial groups whose labor was, and is, absolutely essential to the everyday functioning of U.S. economy. Slavery, industrialization, and reliance on poorly paid migrant laborers in the agriculture, domestic, and service sectors are all legacies of historical identity constructions that endure today. Political and legal anthropologists will also appreciate how Macías-Rojas and Sojoyner carefully document the complex forms of resistance individuals engage in against the indisputably oppressive power structures that shape the lives of individuals in their respective ethnographic studies.

Synthesizing these three books’ goals, evidence-based arguments, and engagement with particular theoretical dialogues raises four points of direct relevance to political and legal anthropology. First, each book uniquely engages with contemporary manifestations of the U.S. criminal justice system while attending to its complex socioeconomic and cultural histories. Second, each author presents a distinct perspective on how ethno-racial identity and citizenship status shape individual and community experiences with the U.S. criminal justice system. Third, the authors differ in their provision of clear and feasible status quo alternatives in ways that raise questions for political and legal anthropologists on the role that research should have in guiding law and public policy. Fourth, each text raises possibilities for future research in political and legal anthropology engaged with state, community, and individual experiences and definitions of justice.

Stop and Frisk traces the origins of police officers’ abilities to detain and search individuals from English common law to contemporary controversies surrounding it, maintaining a focus on this practice in New York City, which is arguably the most culturally and ethno-racially heterogeneous metropolis in the world. White and Fradella highlight SQF policing as a complex issue because of the historically embedded questions it raises about civil and individual rights, neighborhood segregation, and police accountability at a time when this issue is in the national spotlight. From Deportation to Prison mobilizes archival and ethnographic research to explore the emergence and expansion of the Criminal Alien Program as a means to permanently deport undocumented migrants whose presence in U.S. prisons proved untenable in the face of mass incarceration. Macías-Rojas emphasizes how the criminal justice system has influenced the Arizona-Sonora border’s historical and contemporary importance to both countries’ economies, whether through jobs provided by the Border Patrol and by federal funds allocated to Arizona towns that never economically recovered from declines in mining and ranching, income provided by the goods and services migrants purchase on both sides of the border, or the illicit trade in narcotics and human smuggling. First Strike draws on African-American intellectual and activist traditions to document a long history of anti-enclosure resistance, and applies this knowledge to the author’s experiences teaching at a predominantly African-American and Latina/o public school in Los Angeles. Sojoyner’s critique of the School to Prison Pipeline holds that this approach fails to account for the systemic means by which dominant cultural and institutional forces, including mass incarceration, have synchronized the educational and cultural enclosures designed to curtail African American civil liberties and cultural expression.

The three books span a continuum of perspectives on the U.S. criminal justice system in ways that correspond with broader socio-cultural and legal debates regarding whether or not reforms can mitigate historical injustices against people of color, including police brutality and mass incarceration. Stop and Frisk is Fradella’s ninth book, whereas From Deportation to Prison and First Strike are the first book products of their authors’ dissertations. Hence it is perhaps unsurprising that Stop and Frisk takes the most balanced perspective in weighing SQF policing’s benefits and social costs. White and Fradella contend that twenty-first century policing practices grounded in procedural justice and empirical data can ameliorate the racism that has historically pervaded police-citizen encounters for people of color. From Deportation to Prison emphasizes the systemic nature of problems inherent to Border Patrol policing, leading the author to argue that migrants’ rights advocates must prioritize mass incarceration to directly address the U.S. criminal justice system’s fraught history with people of color. Macías-Rojas contends that uniting national debates on migration and criminalization and mass incarceration is particularly important as the US transforms into a ‘majority minority’ country. First Strike offers the least optimistic view of the criminal justice system, which the author regards as just one more example of an enclosure designed to contain and limit the possibilities for African Americans.

Political and legal anthropologists with an applied component to their work will note differences across the three texts with respect to the clear and feasible status quo alternatives the authors pose in response to the significant problems they identify within the U.S. criminal justice system. Stop and Frisk envisions a future in which careful recruit selection, real-world training, external oversight, and judicious use of technology will provide evidence-based routes to increasing police legitimacy within all communities. From Deportation to Prison offers no clear suggestions as to how the criminal justice system might approach border policing differently, which is disappointing given the rest of the book’s ethnographic sophistication and nuanced understanding of everyday life along the Arizona-Sonora border for a wide range of individuals.

First Strike attempts to present possible status quo alternatives — mostly through ethnographic examples of the author’s pedagogical approaches, which he regards as more relevant to students’ lives and cultural worlds — but stops short of providing a clear set of alternatives to administrators, teachers, students, and parents trapped by the enclosures identified throughout the book.

Each text opens up possibilities for future research in political and legal anthropology related to the U.S. criminal justice system’s many facets and forms. Most political and legal anthropologists would agree that ethnography excels above all other methods in its nuanced interpretations of how culture shapes, forecloses, and mitigates the possible ways of living available to individuals in particular geographical and temporal locations. Hence these three texts’ respective analyses of related subject matter emphasize the particular disciplinary strengths that anthropologists might consider drawing upon from other fields — particularly Criminology with its focus on clear and realizable status quo alternatives — while still adhering to the keen insights derived from long-term participant observation of quotidian experiences for which Anthropology is best-known.

Although co-authored by two criminologists, Stop and Frisk’s tightly focused critical analysis of a controversial U.S. policing practice closely resembles the specificity that anthropological projects often employ with respect to particular cultural phenomena. White and Fradella hone their attention on SQF policing in ways that emphasize that individual discretionary decision-making is fundamentally at the core of legal interpretation. The authors maintain a careful, balanced, and nuanced engagement with the multiple levels at which such discretionary decision-making occurs in the law’s application — from the police officers tasked with ensuring public safety to the U.S. Supreme Court Justices who ultimately determine the constitutionality of such practices. Political and legal anthropologists would do well to mimic Stop and Frisk’s focused yet expansive approach by applying Anthropology’s particular set of methodological and empirical strengths to street policing, criminal courts, and judicial decision-making.

Patrisia Macías-Rojas is a sociologist and yet her in-depth ethnographic fieldwork will be very familiar to readers with a background in Anthropology. The clear and convincing evidence presented in support of the author’s argument in From Deportation to Prison emphasizes the utility of mixed methods approaches that balance archival, interview-based, and ethnographic work. The wide-ranging analytical scope that emerges from these approaches indisputably demonstrates carceral liberalism’s negative impact on criminalized migrants and their communities while also acknowledging the various rationales employed by the parties tasked with its everyday implementation on the border. While anthropologists have included archival research in their studies for quite some time, From Deportation to Prison offers a model of how this historical method can be especially effective when juxtaposed with court observations and long-term residence in communities that feature in the research. Political and legal anthropologists, especially those working with fraught social issues, will likely consider Macías-Rojas’ research design a model of exceptionally solid empirical work.

First Strike is the only text reviewed here that was written by an anthropologist and yet readers from anthropology may finish the book wishing that they had more insights into everyday life for students, teachers, administrators, and other public school workers. Instead, much of the book’s ethnographic reflections focus on the author’s personal disappointment with the school in a tone that sometimes comes across as condescending, particularly when he points to his own pedagogical practices as uniquely engaging students who are hungry for knowledge that he believes the school does not provide. The author notes in his introduction that the book’s scope is intentionally broad, but Sojoyner misses many opportunities to reflect on the general state of public education in the U.S., as many of his critiques are equally applicable to public schools in rural and poor White communities that face enclosures of their own. Wide-ranging references to mass incarceration, Christianity, U.S. politics, African American intellectual and cultural traditions, and public education may strike some anthropologists as scattered, yet these choices may also provide inspiration for anthropologists who seek to make broader statements about social problems based on their ethnographic fieldwork.

New researchers— or those considering a shift in trajectory— might consider these texts as the basis for further investigation into much less-explored avenues of inquiry. Such avenues could include ethnographic explorations of how individuals and communities experience controversial policing practices, such as SQF, from a wide range of perspectives. By focusing on the lowest common denominator of street patrol policing, researchers ignore the reality that patrol officers are beholden to forces far more powerful than themselves. Researchers have much work to do in exploring the worlds of upper level administrative workers in the criminal justice system who are responsible for developing and demanding the implementation of practices that patrol officers must exercise.

The vast majority of contemporary studies on policing and the criminal justice system more generally disproportionately focus their attention on inner city neighborhoods with very limited attention paid to rural, reservation, and poor White communities. As a result, very little is known about how justice system-involved individuals in these communities experience and navigate their encounters with agents of the criminal justice system on a daily basis. The same is true for ethnographies that connect education and incarceration, and researchers would do well to explore this gap in the literature, as criminologists have begun to do. Taken together, these three texts offer great inspiration for future ethnographic work as well as significant contributions to interdisciplinary scholarship on the U.S. criminal justice system.

Susan Dewey, University of Wyoming

Reviewed in this Essay

Macías-Rojas, Patrisia. 2016. From Deportation to Prison: The Politics of Immigration Enforcement in Post-Civil Rights America. New York, NY: New York University Press.

Sojoyner, Damien. 2016. First Strike: Educational Enclosures in Black Los Angeles. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

White, Michael D. and Henry F. Fradella. 2016. Stop and Frisk: The Use and Abuse of a Controversial Policing Tactic. New York, NY: New York University Press.


Works Cited

Bourgois, Philippe and Jeffrey Schonberg. 2009. Righteous Dopefiend. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Carr, Summerson. 2010. Scripting Addiction: The Politics of Therapeutic Talk and American Sobriety. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Cattelino, Jessica. 2010. Anthropologies of the United States. Annual Review of Anthropology 39: 275-92.

Fassin, Didier. 2013. Enforcing Order: An Ethnography of Urban Policing. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

Rhodes, Lorna. 2004. Total Confinement: Madness and Reason in the Maximum Security Prison. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

U.S. Department of Justice. 2016. Correctional Populations in the United States. Retrieved from:

About Matthew Wolf-Meyer

Matthew Wolf-Meyer is an anthropologist and historian of science and medicine in the United States. He is author of The Slumbering Masses: Sleep, Medicine & Modern American Life (UMN Press, 2012), Theory for the World to Come: Speculative Fiction and Apocalyptic Anthropology (UMN Press, 2019), and Unraveling: Remaking Personhood in a Neurodiverse Age (UMN Press, 2020). He blogs at and

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