Parole and post-release supervision
Expanding the community: An exploratory analysis of a parole office’s location and its impact on parolees
While numerous studies focus on the effect and importance of a former prisoner’s neighborhood on the reintegration process, few studies focus on the potential impact of community factors of neighborhoods surrounding parole offices. In this paper, I argue that such impacts need to be explored and discussed. Parolees must travel to parole offices on a regular basis and are likely to interact with the local environment, which may adversely influence their time on parole (especially if, for example, the surrounding neighborhood contains influences associated with their criminal offense). I argue that the notion of a parolee’s community should expand to include the “parole community,” and that doing so provides a lens by which to understand the impact of these communities on reintegration. Hence, I conducted an exploratory, participant observation study of a parole office in Southern California to understand how the location of the parole office might affect the parolees assigned to that office.
Re-imaging the bodies and boundaries of the crimino-legal complex
Co-Principal Investigator with Dr. Kathryn Henne and Dr. Nina Billone Prieur
Funded by: University of Denver Institute for Digital Humanities (with funding from the NEH)
This project interrogates fears of crime vis-à-vis the question of embodiment. The bodies of criminals have been studied, represented, and even dramatized in history, popular culture, politics, and science. Visuality is central to the “physiognomic gauge” through which we discern deviant bodies as an Other distinct from law-abiding bodies (Sekula 1986). The academic project of criminology, which traces its roots to Lombroso’s crude biological profiling, too has propagated these images. Although positivist criminology no longer relies on phrenology, it instead condenses the visual into the numerical; it quantifiably represents groups of bodies as “offenders,” thereby mystifying the “who” behind these statistics. The absence of the image, in turn, enables public imaginations to run wild, especially as news and popular culture supplant historical renderings with mediated ones. Responding to these conflated representations, this project probes criminological issues of embodiment and aesthetics through a multimedia engagement informed by performance studies, visual anthropology, critical criminology, and feminist studies. Here, we interrogate the imagined dimensions of these bodies in relation to the textual and pictographic devices that illustrate them. We ask not only how do we imagine criminal bodies, but how can we re-imagine them in ways that challenge the conventions of, what Alison Young terms, the crimino-legal complex? Furthermore, how might digital formats and interactive tools facilitate this kind of refashioning?
These questions open a space to problematize the images and meanings often assumed to constitute the realities of crime. Feminist criminology has already begun to probe how the interworkings of race, class, and gender operate interactively in conjunction with — sometimes predictably and at other times unpredictably so — other social inequalities and/or privileges to reveal a problematic relationship between “victimization” and “offending.” As crime can invariably embody both, “criminals” elude easy quantification and in turn the gaze of mainstream criminology, requiring further contemplation about what “they” are as subjects. Recognizing that the public’s engagement with imprisoned and criminalized bodies is often abstract, detached, and limited, we extend these insights to the virtual. Our objective is to facilitate participatory forms of archiving and journaling that enable a rethinking of criminalized persons who are either incarcerated or chronically surveilled in their communities. Beyond using virtual platforms to rethink embodiment, the project also enables users to explore the virtual as an intangible domain of the body. As the realm that reveals our aspirations and potentialities, it functions here as a space to bridge new possibilities.