Vectors of Control: The Carceral Laboratory and the Politics of Reform, 1961-2019
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CitationWang, Jacqueline. 2020. Vectors of Control: The Carceral Laboratory and the Politics of Reform, 1961-2019. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractWhile histories of mass incarceration in the postwar United States tend to focus on the role of the state and the federal government in setting the law-and-order policy agenda, this dissertation examines the role of reformers, the non-profit sector, the Cold War university, and the private sector in shaping the carceral state. Using archival methods, I investigate the historical conditions that gave rise to the development of new carceral technologies and criminal justice techniques, focusing on five different ‘vectors of control’: voice, time, character, space, and finance. To analyze these processes I develop two analytics: 'the carceral laboratory' and 'technocratic reform.' In “Part I” I describe the carceral laboratory as the network of experimental and collaborative relationships between the state, the university, the military-industrial complex, non-profits, and industry. In the carceral laboratory, the state contracts private actors to use the efficiency of the market or cutting-edge technologies to solve social problems and test out new governmental techniques. In “Part II” I argue that the predominant penal philosophy of the 1960s and 1970s could best be described as a philosophy of technocratic reform, where risk assessment and the deployment of technical knowledge are the methods by which a reform agenda is enacted.
Chapter one, “Voice: Prisoner Voice Prints and the Prison Telecommunications Industry,” examines the history of forensic speech science, the political economy of the prison telecommunications industry, and the racialization of sound. Chapter two, “Time: Carceral Temporalities and the Weaponization of Duration,” examines how time is regulated and used as a form of punishment inside prisons. In chapter three, “Character: Risk Assessment and the Politics of Bail Reform,” I investigate the history of the first bail reform movement and the emergence of risk assessment as an alternative to money bail. In chapter four, “Space: Postwar Prison Architecture and the Pitfalls of Reform,” I examine the architectural and penological philosophy of the National Clearinghouse for Criminal Justice Planning and Architecture (NCCJPA), a technical assistance organization that sought to use design principles to modify the behavior of prisoners. Chapter five, “Finance: Social Impact Bonds and the Financialization of Juvenile Justice,” examines the emergence of the Social Impact Bond, a new public finance instrument that enables the state to collaborate with financiers on criminal justice projects.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37365757
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