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Crimcast is a virtual resource devoted to critical conversations about criminology and criminal justice issues. Our blogposts, twitter feeds, podcasts and other content provide an overview of trends, research, commentary and events of interest to criminal justice practitioners, academics and the general public. CrimCast is sponsored by The Center for Crime and Popular Culture, St. Francis College, Brooklyn, NY.

Feminists and the Police State

Nickie Phillips

In her article pointing out the gross injustices suffered by Bernard Baran who was wrongfully convicted, JoAnn Wypijewski writes:

Pause, then, in memory of Bernard Baran, a human man who survived with curiosity, gentleness and humor intact. Pause, too, to honor Bob Chatelle and his colleagues, who have expended decades resisting reckless prosecutions while supporting dozens of people wrongfully accused of sex offenses.

She then strikes a blow against the hysteria and sex panics that have led to the rise of incarceration rates and an increasing police state:

It is the lust for prosecution, the clang of the prison door; and the liberal/progressive/feminist hand in enabling the police state and confusing punishment with justice.…'Carceral feminists,' the subject of a fair amount of recent talk and scholarship on the roots of anti-trafficking campaigns, is an unlovely phrase, but it usefully denotes a social force that elided personal power with state power, eschewed the project of liberation—the goal of a radically different set of power relations—and took as its armor the victim's mantle.

Wypijewski brings up some interesting points about the tension between due process rights and concerns for public safety that too frequently erupt into sex panics that ensnare innocents.

We're curious, though, about Wypijewski's linking of the "liberal/progressive/feminist[s]" to the rise of mass incarceration and the police state. Thoughts?

For more on Bernard Baran, his innocence, and his life tragically cut short after only eight years of freedom from wrongful incarceration, go here.