1932

Abstract

Contact with the carceral state—ranging from police stops to prison time—is a frequent experience in the United States, particularly in communities marginalized on the basis of race and class. In recent years, political scientists have sought to measure the impacts of these encounters on individuals’ and communities’ political engagement. This review describes the main sources of evidence in this literature and what we learn from them. I present a series of stylized facts about the carceral state and political behavior, highlighting places where we know a great deal (such as the relative underrepresentation of people with criminal convictions among voters) and places where more work is needed (such as nonvoting participation and community spillovers). Then, I discuss policy proposals that seek to mitigate the political impacts of the carceral state, and what is and is not yet known about what they might accomplish.

Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journals/10.1146/annurev-polisci-051120-014809
2022-05-12
2024-07-15
Loading full text...

Full text loading...

/deliver/fulltext/polisci/25/1/annurev-polisci-051120-014809.html?itemId=/content/journals/10.1146/annurev-polisci-051120-014809&mimeType=html&fmt=ahah

Literature Cited

  1. Agan AY, Doleac JL, Harvey A. 2021. Misdemeanor prosecution NBER Work. Pap. 28600
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Allen J. 2011. Documentary disenfranchisement. Tulane Law Rev. 86:389
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Anoll A, Israel-Trummel M. 2019. Do felony disenfranchisement laws (de)mobilize? A case of surrogate participation. J. Politics 81:41523–27
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Anzia SF. 2019. Looking for influence in all the wrong places: How studying subnational policy can revive research on interest groups. J. Politics 81:1343–51
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Bakshi A, Meares T, Weaver V. 2017. Portals to politics: perspectives on policing from the grassroots Work. Pap. New York Univ. Law New York, NY: http://www.law.nyu.edu/sites/default/files/upload_documents/Bakshi%20Meares%20and%20Weaver%20Portals%20to%20Politics%20Study.pdf
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Behrens A, Uggen C, Manza J. 2003. Ballot manipulation and the “menace of Negro domination”: racial threat and felon disenfranchisement in the United States, 1850–2002. Am. J. Sociol 109:3559–605
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Bell MC. 2016. Situational trust: how disadvantaged mothers reconceive legal cynicism. Law Soc. Rev 50:2314–47
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Bobo LD, Thompson V. 2010. Racialized mass incarceration: poverty, prejudice, and punishment. Doing Race 21:322–55
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Bruch SK, Ferree MM, Soss J. 2010. From policy to polity: democracy, paternalism, and the incorporation of disadvantaged citizens. Am. Sociol. Rev 75:2205–26
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Bullock JG, Green DP, Ha SE. 2010. Yes, but what's the mechanism? (Don't expect an easy answer). J. Pers. Soc. Psychol 98:4550–58
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Burch T 2009. American politics and the not-so-benign neglect of criminal justice. The Future of Political Science: 100 Perspectives G King, KL Schlozman, N Nie 230–31 New York: Routledge
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Burch T. 2010. Did disfranchisement laws help elect President Bush? New evidence on the turnout rates and candidate preferences of Florida's ex-felons. Political Behav 34:11–26
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Burch T. 2011. Turnout and party registration among criminal offenders in the 2008 general election. Law Soc. Rev 45:3699–730
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Burch T. 2013. Trading Democracy for Justice: Criminal Convictions and the Decline of Neighborhood Political Participation Chicago: Univ. Chicago Press
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Campbell AL. 2002. Self-interest, Social Security, and the distinctive participation patterns of senior citizens. Am. Political Sci. Rev 96:3565–74
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Campbell AL. 2012. Policy makes mass politics. Annu. Rev. Political Sci 15:333–51
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Chesney-Lind M, Mauer M 2003. Invisible Punishment: The Collateral Consequences of Mass Imprisonment New York: New Press
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Chung J. 2019. Felony disenfranchisement: a primer Rep. The Sentencing Project Washington, DC:
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Clear TR. 2009. Imprisoning Communities: How Mass Incarceration Makes Disadvantaged Neighborhoods Worse New York: Oxford Univ. Press
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Cohen E, Gunderson A, Jackson K, Zachary P, Clark TS et al. 2019. Do officer-involved shootings reduce citizen contact with government?. J. Politics 81:31111–23
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Comfort M. 2008. Doing Time Together: Love and Family in the Shadow of the Prison Chicago: Univ. Chicago Press
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Davis AY. 2011. Are Prisons Obsolete? New York: Seven Stories
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Desmond M, Papachristos AV, Kirk DS. 2016. Police violence and citizen crime reporting in the Black community. Am. Sociol. Rev 81:5857–76
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Drucker E, Barreras R. 2005. Studies of voting behavior and felony disenfranchisement among individuals in the criminal justice system in New York, Connecticut, and Ohio Rep. The Sentencing Project Washington, DC: https://www.prisonpolicy.org/scans/sp/fd_studiesvotingbehavior.pdf
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Eckhouse L. 2017. Everyday risk: disparate exposure and racial inequalities in police violence Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association Aug. 31–Sep. 3 San Francisco, CA:
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Ewald A. 2005. A ‘crazy-quilt’ of tiny pieces: state and local administration of American criminal disenfranchisement law Rep. The Sentencing Project Washington, DC: http://www.sentencingproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/A-Crazy-Quilt-of-Tiny-Pieces-State-and-Local-Administration-of-American-Criminal-Disenfranchisement-Laws.pdf
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Gerber AS, Huber GA, Meredith M, Biggers DR, Hendry DJ. 2015. Can incarcerated felons be (re)integrated into the political system? Results from a field experiment. Am. J. Political Sci. 59:4912–26
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Gerber AS, Huber GA, Meredith M, Biggers DR, Hendry DJ. 2017. Does incarceration reduce voting? Evidence about the political consequences of spending time in prison. J. Politics 79:41130–46
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Goerger S, Mummolo J, Westwood S. 2020. Which police departments want reform? Barriers to evidence-based policymaking Work. Pap. Princeton Univ. Princeton, NJ: https://scholar.princeton.edu/sites/default/files/jmummolo/files/gmw_3_2020_with_si.pdf
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Gottschalk M. 2016. Caught: The Prison State and the Lockdown of American Politics Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Hall AB, Yoder J, Karandikar N. 2021. Economic distress and voting: evidence from the subprime mortgage crisis. Political Sci. Res. Methods 9:2327–44
    [Google Scholar]
  32. Harris A. 2016. A Pound of Flesh: Monetary Sanctions as Punishment for the Poor New York: Russell Sage Found.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Harris AP, Walker HL, Eckhouse L. 2020. No justice, no peace: political science perspectives on the American carceral state. J. Race Ethnicity Politics 5:427–49
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Haselswerdt M. 2009. Con job: an estimate of ex-felon voter turnout using document-based data. Soc. Sci. Q 90:2262–73
    [Google Scholar]
  35. Hinton E, Cook D. 2020. The mass criminalization of Black Americans: a historical overview. Annu. Rev. Criminol 4:261–86
    [Google Scholar]
  36. Hsuan T, Chen Y, Zachary P, Fariss CJ 2017. Who protests? Using social media data to estimate how social context affects political behavior Paper presented at Political Networks Conference Ohio State Univ. June 14–17
    [Google Scholar]
  37. Johnson KR. 2021. Two regimes of prison data collection. Harvard Data Sci. Rev 3: 3. https://doi.org/10.1162/99608f92.72825001
    [Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  38. Justice B, Meares TL. 2014. How the criminal justice system educates citizens. Ann. Am. Acad. Political Soc. Sci 651:1159–77
    [Google Scholar]
  39. Kaba M. 2021. We Do This ‘Til We Free Us: Abolitionist Organizing and Transforming Justice Chicago: Haymarket Books
    [Google Scholar]
  40. Katzenstein MF, Ibrahim LM, Rubin KD 2010. The dark side of American liberalism and felony disenfranchisement. Perspect. Politics 8:41035–54
    [Google Scholar]
  41. Kirk DS, Wakefield S. 2018. Collateral consequences of punishment: a critical review and path forward. Annu. Rev. Criminol 1:171–94
    [Google Scholar]
  42. Knox D, Lowe W, Mummolo J. 2020. Administrative records mask racially biased policing. Am. Political Sci. Rev 114:3619–37
    [Google Scholar]
  43. Kurgan L. 2013. Million-dollar blocks. Close Up at a Distance: Mapping, Technology, and Politics187–204 Cambridge, MA: MIT Press
    [Google Scholar]
  44. Larson JM, Nagler J, Ronen J, Tucker JA 2019. Social networks and protest participation: evidence from 130 million Twitter users. Am. J. Political Sci 63:3690–705
    [Google Scholar]
  45. Lee H, McCormick T, Hicken MT, Wildeman C. 2015. Racial inequalities in connectedness to imprisoned individuals in the United States. Du Bois Rev. 12:2269–82
    [Google Scholar]
  46. Lee H, Porter LC, Comfort M. 2014. Consequences of family member incarceration: impacts on civic participation and perceptions of the legitimacy and fairness of government. Ann. Am. Acad. Political Soc. Sci 651:144–73
    [Google Scholar]
  47. Lerman AE. 2013. The Modern Prison Paradox: Politics, Punishment, and Social Community New York: Cambridge Univ. Press
    [Google Scholar]
  48. Lerman AE, Weaver V. 2014. Staying out of sight? Concentrated policing and local political action. Ann. Am. Acad. Political Soc. Sci 651:1202–19
    [Google Scholar]
  49. Manza J, Uggen C. 2006. Locked Out: Felon Disenfranchisement and American Democracy New York: Oxford Univ. Press
    [Google Scholar]
  50. McCahon DS. 2016. Combating misinformation in the ex-felon population: the role probation and parole agencies can play to facilitate civic reintegration in the United States. Probation J. 63:19–22
    [Google Scholar]
  51. McDonough A, Enamorado T, Mendelberg T, Stevenson M 2020. Jailed while presumed innocent: the demobilizing effects of pretrial incarceration Paper presented at Justice and Injustice Mini-Conference Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association Sep. 10, online
    [Google Scholar]
  52. Meredith M, Morse M. 2014. Do voting rights notification laws increase ex-felon turnout?. Ann. Am. Acad. Political Soc. Sci 651:1220–49
    [Google Scholar]
  53. Meredith M, Morse M 2015. The politics of the restoration of ex-felon voting rights: the case of Iowa. Q. J. Political Sci 10:141–100
    [Google Scholar]
  54. Meredith M, Morse M. 2017. Discretionary disenfranchisement: the case of legal financial obligations. J. Legal Stud 46:2309–38
    [Google Scholar]
  55. Meredith M, Morse M. 2018. Why letting ex-felons vote probably won't swing Florida. VoxNov. 2 https://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2018/11/2/18049510/felon-voting-rights-amendment-4-florida
    [Google Scholar]
  56. Michener J. 2018. Fragmented Democracy: Medicaid, Federalism, and Unequal Politics New York: Cambridge Univ. Press
    [Google Scholar]
  57. Michener J, SoRelle M, Thurston C. 2020. From the margins to the center: a bottom-up approach to welfare state scholarship. Perspect. Politics In press. https://doi.org/10.1017/S153759272000359X
    [Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  58. Middlemass K. 2017. Convicted and Condemned: The Politics and Policies of Prisoner Reentry New York: New York Univ. Press
    [Google Scholar]
  59. Miller LL. 2008. The Perils of Federalism: Race, Poverty, and the Politics of Crime Control Oxford, UK: Oxford Univ. Press
    [Google Scholar]
  60. Morris K. 2021. Turnout and Amendment Four: mobilizing eligible voters close to formerly incarcerated Floridians. Am. Political Sci. Rev 115:3805–20
    [Google Scholar]
  61. Morse M. 2021. The future of felon disenfranchisement reform: how partisanship and poverty shape the restoration of voting rights in Florida. Calif. Law Rev. 109:1143–97
    [Google Scholar]
  62. Ouss A, Stevenson M. 2019. Evaluating the impacts of eliminating prosecutorial requests for cash bail George Mason Law Sch. Faculty Work. Pap. Ser. Legal Stud.19–08
    [Google Scholar]
  63. Owens ML. 2014. Ex-felons’ organization-based political work for carceral reforms. Ann. Am. Acad. Political Soc. Sci 651:256–65
    [Google Scholar]
  64. Owens ML, Walker HL. 2018. The civic voluntarism of custodial citizens: involuntary criminal justice contact, associational life, and political participation. Perspect. Politics 16:4990–1013
    [Google Scholar]
  65. Paikowsky D. 2019. Jails as polling places: living up to the obligation to enfranchise the voters we jail. Harvard Civil Rights 54:2829–73
    [Google Scholar]
  66. Pettit B. 2012. Invisible Men: Mass Incarceration and the Myth of Black Progress New York: Russell Sage Found.
    [Google Scholar]
  67. Pfaff J. 2017. Locked In: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration—and How to Achieve Real Reform New York: Basic Books
    [Google Scholar]
  68. Pierson P. 1993. When effect becomes cause: policy feedback and political change. World Politics 45:4595–628
    [Google Scholar]
  69. Prowse G, Weaver VM, Meares TL. 2020. The state from below: distorted responsiveness in policed communities. Urban Aff. Rev 56:51423–71
    [Google Scholar]
  70. Rosenstone SJ. 1982. Economic adversity and voter turnout. Am. J. Political Sci 26:125–46
    [Google Scholar]
  71. Shannon SK, Uggen C, Schnittker J, Thompson M, Wakefield S, Massoglia M. 2017. The growth, scope, and spatial distribution of people with felony records in the United States, 1948–2010. Demography 54:51795–818
    [Google Scholar]
  72. Soss J, Weaver V. 2017. Police are our government: politics, political science, and the policing of race-class subjugated communities. Annu. Rev. Political Sci 20:565–91
    [Google Scholar]
  73. Stevenson M, Mayson S. 2018. The scale of misdemeanor justice. Boston Univ. Law Rev 98:731
    [Google Scholar]
  74. Sugie NF. 2015. Chilling effects: diminished political participation among partners of formerly incarcerated men. Soc. Problems 62:4550–71
    [Google Scholar]
  75. Thorpe RU. 2015. Perverse politics: the persistence of mass imprisonment in the twenty-first century. Perspect. Politics 13:3618–37
    [Google Scholar]
  76. Uggen C, Larson R, Shannon S. 2016. 6 Million lost voters: state-level estimates of felony disenfranchisement, 2016. The Sentencing Project https://www.sentencingproject.org/publications/6-million-lost-voters-state-level-estimates-felony-disenfranchisement-2016/
    [Google Scholar]
  77. Uggen C, Manza J. 2002. Democratic contraction? Political consequences of felon disenfranchisement in the United States. Am. Sociol. Rev 67:6777–803
    [Google Scholar]
  78. Ura A. 2021. Texas court of criminal appeals will review Crystal Mason's controversial illegal-voting conviction. Texas Trib. Mar. 31. https://www.texastribune.org/2021/03/31/crystal-mason-texas-voting-ruling/
    [Google Scholar]
  79. Verba S, Schlozman KL, Brady HE. 1995. Voice and Equality: Civic Voluntarism in American Politics Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press
    [Google Scholar]
  80. Walker HL. 2014. Extending the effects of the carceral state: proximal contact, political participation, and race. Political Res. Q 67:4809–22
    [Google Scholar]
  81. Walker HL. 2020. Targeted: the mobilizing effect of perceptions of unfair policing practices. J. Politics 82:1119–34
    [Google Scholar]
  82. Walker HL, García-Castanõn M. 2017. For love and justice: the mobilizing of race, gender, and criminal justice contact. Politics Gender 13:4541–68
    [Google Scholar]
  83. Weaver V, Lerman A. 2010. Political consequences of the carceral state. Am. Political Sci. Rev 104:4817–33
    [Google Scholar]
  84. Weaver V, Lerman A. 2014. Arresting Citizenship: The Democratic Consequences of American Crime Control Chicago: Univ. Chicago Press
    [Google Scholar]
  85. Weaver V, Prowse G, Piston S 2020. Withdrawing and drawing in: political discourse in policed communities. J. Race Ethnicity Politics 5:604–47
    [Google Scholar]
  86. Western B. 2006. Punishment and Inequality in America New York: Russell Sage Found.
    [Google Scholar]
  87. White A. 2019a. Family matters? Voting behavior in households with criminal justice contact. Am. Political Sci. Rev 113:2607–13
    [Google Scholar]
  88. White A. 2019b. Misdemeanor disenfranchisement? The demobilizing effects of brief jail spells on potential voters. Am. Political Sci. Rev 113:2311–24
    [Google Scholar]
  89. White A, Nguyen A. 2022. How often do people vote while incarcerated? Evidence from Maine and Vermont. J. Politics 84:156872
    [Google Scholar]
  90. White A, Trump KS. 2018. The promises and pitfalls of 311 data. Urban Aff. Rev 54:4794–823
    [Google Scholar]
  91. Wildeman C. 2009. Parental imprisonment, the prison boom, and the concentration of childhood disadvantage. Demography 46:2265–80
    [Google Scholar]
  92. Yoshinaka A, Grose CR. 2005. Partisan politics and electoral design: the enfranchisement of felons and ex-felons in the United States, 1960–99. State Local Gov. Rev 37:149–60
    [Google Scholar]
  93. Zoorob M. 2020. Do police brutality stories reduce 911 calls? Reassessing an important criminological finding. Am. Sociol. Rev 85:1176–83
    [Google Scholar]
/content/journals/10.1146/annurev-polisci-051120-014809
Loading
/content/journals/10.1146/annurev-polisci-051120-014809
Loading

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Review Article
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error