16th Social Research conference at The New School
Punishment: The U.S. Record
November 30 - December 1, 2006
John Tishman Auditorium 66 West 12th Street, NYC

Papers from the conference are published in Social Research Volume 74, Number 2 (Summer 2007). https://epay.newschool.edu/C21120_ustores/web/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCTID=5338

The conference examined the foundations of our ideas of punishment, explored the social effects of current practices and searched for viable alternatives to our carceral state. Our nation's prison population has soared by more than 600% since the 1970s, despite a drop in crime rates. As of 2005, over two million people were imprisoned in this country: almost one in every 136 U.S. residents. Black men, who make up 6% of the U.S. population, comprise over 40% of our prison population. A black male born today has a 32% chance of spending time in prison. Eleven states do not allow ex-cons to vote. Nearly 2,800,000 American children have at least one parent in prison or jail. What does this mean for our democracy? Where do our concepts of punishment come from? What is the effect on our families, communities and the economy of our staggeringly high incarceration rate?


Thursday, November 30

Session I: Why We Punish: The Foundation of Our Concepts of Punishment Historical and Comparative Perspectives on Punishment

10:00 a.m. - 1:45 p.m. 

Practices: James Q. Whitman, Ford Foundation Professor of Comparative and Foreign Law, Yale Law School
The Legacy of Theology (Transgression, redemption, atonement, retribution and forgiveness): Moshe Halbertal, Professor of Jewish Thought at the Hebrew University and the Gruss Professor at NYU Law School Punishment and the Spirit of Democracy: George Kateb, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Princeton University
Beyond the Cultural Turn: 21st Century Meditations on Punishment: Bernard E. Harcourt , Professor of Law and Faculty Director of Academic Affairs at The Law School, University of Chicago
Moderator: Suzanne Last Stone, Professor of Law, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and Director of Jewish Law and Interdisciplinary Studies

Session II: What and How We Punish: Law, Justice and Punishment

2:15 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Changes in the Law: From the Present to the Past to the Present: Michael Tonry, Marvin J. Sonosky Professor of Law and Public Policy, University of Minnesota Law School
Economic Models of Crime and Punishment: John J. Donohue III, Professor of Law, Yale Law School
Retribution and the "Desert" Model: Should Punishment Fit The Crime?Andrew von Hirsch, Honorary Professor of Penal Theory and Penal Law, Cambridge University and Director of the Centre for Penal Theory and Penal Ethics
The Forms and Functions of American Capital Punishment: David Garland, Arthur T. Vanderbilt Professor of Law and Professor of Sociology, New York University
Moderator: James Jacobs, Chief Justice Warren E. Burger Professor of Constitutional Law and the Courts Director, Center for Research in Crime and Justice, New York University6:00 P.M. - 7:00 p.m.

Session III: Special Event

Richard Gere and Carey Lowell Read Prison Writings (The PEN America Center cosponsored this event; Audio recordings of the readings are available online. http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEEDF068B6959FF33 (Ryan might have up to date link to Punishment recordings)

Friday, December 1

Session IV: Who We Punish: The Carceral State

10:00 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.

The Rise of the Carceral State: Jonathan Simon, Associate Dean, Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program, and Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley
Inequality and Punishment: Bruce Western, Professor of Sociology, Princeton University
When is Imprisonment Not a Punishment?: Immigrants and Immigration: Mark Dow, Author of American Gulag
Supermax as a Technology of Punishment: Lorna A. Rhodes, Professor of Anthropology, University of Washington
Moderator: Susan Tucker, Director, The After Prison Initiative, Open Society Institute's U.S. Justice Fund

Session V: Consequences of a Carceral State

1:45 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

The Social Effects of Imprisonment: A Labor Market Perspective: David Weiman, Alena Wels Hirschorn '58 Professor of Economics, Barnard College
The Impacts of Incarceration on Public Safety: Todd Clear, Distinguished Professor, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York
Hitting Home: How Perpetual Punishment Hurts Families: Elizabeth Gaynes, Executive Director, The Osborne Association
Incarceration and Reentry Reforms in an Era of Robust Democracy: Jeremy Travis, President, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Moderator: Deborah Mukamal, Director, Prisoner Reentry Institute, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, The City University of New York

Session VI: Round-table Discussion on Alternatives to a Carceral State

5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Gordon Bazemore, Professor of Criminal Justice, Florida Atlantic University; Stephen B. Bright, President and Senior Counsel, Southern Center for Human Rights, Visiting Lecturer in Law, Harvard and Yale Law Schools; Nancy Gertner, Judge, U.S. District Court, Boston;Marie Gottschalk, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania; James Jacobs, Chief Justice Warren E. Burger Professor of Constitutional Law and the Courts Director, Center for Research in Crime and Justice, New York University; Marc Mauer, Executive Director, The Sentencing Project; Christopher Uggen, Professor of Sociology, University of Minnesota
Moderator: Brent Staples, Editorial Writer, Member of the Editorial Board, The New York Times


The director and founder (1988) of the Social Research conference series is Arien Mack, Alfred and Monette Marrow Professor of Psychology at The New School for Social Research, who has been the editor of Social Research since 1970. For the history of the conference series, visit the Social Research conference series site. For information about other public events at The New School, see the university calendarFind information about the more than 70 degree programs offered at The New School. For general information about The New School, visit the Quick Facts page.


This conference was made possible with generous support from the Russell Sage Foundation, The Open Society Institute’s U.S. Justice Fund, the Ford Foundation and The J.M. Kaplan Fund. The conference was also cosponsored by the ACLU and the PEN America Center.

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