Drugs, Crime and Community Supervision: Urban Governance and Carceral Power

Authors: Dirk Kinsey*, Temple University
Topics: Urban Geography, Ethnicity and Race
Keywords: Carceral geographies, urban governance, critical race geographies, drug policy, community supervision
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Jackson, Marriott, 5th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


While the current US administration seems intent on continuing and reaffirming the process of mass incarceration which has characterized the punitive arm of the war on drugs, many state and local jurisdictions are beginning to question the logic and cost of incarcerating its way out of this problem. Increasingly, community supervision and mandated treatment is becoming an attractive alternative for jurisdictions. With roughly 3.8 million Americans on probation and 760,000 on parole, community supervision is less of an “alternative” than prominent institution in the legal and social landscape of the United States. This paper argues for an examination of the problematic nature of community supervision as a means of addressing addiction and dependence and for a sustained inquiry into community supervision as form urban governance, useful in exploring some of the complexities and contradictions within the carceral state. Rather than a magic bullet with the power to resolve a crisis of drug abuse and the disproportionate incarceration of black and brown people, community supervision presents a complex and variegated landscape of institutional power with as much potential to reproduce and reify existing systems of inequality as to challenge them. As cities increasingly seek to address drug abuse, community supervision and its socio-spatial implications is need of greater scrutiny.

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