MisdemeanorlandCriminal Courts and Social Control in an Age of Broken Windows Policing

MisdemeanorlandCriminal Courts and Social Control in an Age of Broken Windows Policing

Issa Kohler-Hausmann

Print publication date: 2020

ISBN: 9780691196114

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Abstract

In the early 1990s, New York City launched an initiative under the banner of Broken Windows policing to dramatically expand enforcement against low-level offenses. This is the first book to document the fates of the hundreds of thousands of people hauled into lower criminal courts as part of this policing experiment. Drawing on three years of fieldwork inside and outside of the courtroom, in-depth interviews, and analysis of trends in arrests and dispositions of misdemeanors going back three decades, the book shows how the lower reaches of our criminal justice system operate as a form of social control and surveillance, often without adjudicating cases or imposing formal punishment. It describes in harrowing detail how the reach of America's penal state extends well beyond the shocking numbers of people incarcerated in prisons or stigmatized by a felony conviction.