Hi there. I hope all is well. I am continuing the discussion I began back in 2013. Many things have happened in my life and career during that time. Even more, much has happened in the realm of the American carceral state. Some good, some bad, but mostly the same. I’d like to refer you to the very first post I made for this blog back in 2013 because most of those sentiments are the same. Scholars need to continue uncovering the history of incarceration, peeling away the layers to reveal the core of the matter.
I hope to help peel away those layers by sharing my own research as well as that of my colleagues in history, law, and other disciplines. Enjoy the ride!
I’ve been studying prisons in some way, shape, or form since my undergraduate days in the late 1990s. Prisons always fascinated me. They just seemed like such a peculiar institution. Laws. Rules. Punishing rule breakers. I get it. It’s all part of society. But slowly, the more I studied prisons, the more I realized things weren’t what I saw on television. Cops and district attorneys aren’t always the good guys. Sometimes the guy who gets thrown in jail isn’t always a law breaker.
I hope you find this blog interesting. I hope it grows and grows. I hope you even contribute to it one day. After receiving my law degree and then my PhD in history, I have seen the study of the law and prisons from both sides. I’ve seen it from the practitioners’ side and I’ve seen it from the academics’ perspective. I’ve studied everything from the modern death penalty to federal court prison reform. In August, I am beginning a position as assistant professor at Winona State University in Winona, Minnesota, focusing on US Legal and Constitutional History. I hope to continue my studies there and share them with you.
Maybe together, we can look at the past and then examine the present. Hopefully we can begin answering some questions. Why does the United States have the highest incarceration rate of any nation in the world? Why do states in the US South, which have the highest crime rates in all of the nation, have the most incarcerated citizens? Something’s wrong with this situation. We can only begin to fix it by looking at our past. Where does your state fit in this scenario?