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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.

Filtering by Tag: poverty

Leading Criminologists commissioned to look at relationships between poverty and crime for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Nickie Phillips

Professor Colin Webster and Dr Sarah Kingston from the Criminology Group and the new Centre for Applied Social Research at Leeds Met have reviewed evidence about the benefits of reducing crime by reducing poverty.

 

wealth & poverty

 

 

 

 

 

 

As well as looking at the links how poverty and crime influence one another they have been asked by JRF to explore what contributions policies to prevent and reduce crime might make to their anti-poverty programme. The review is one of a comprehensive series of reviews, consultations and workshops to gather ideas and evidence; and commission analysis, research and modelling. The programme aims to reduce poverty across the four nations of the UK, creating costed, evidence-based anti-poverty strategies by 2016 that it is hoped will have a positive impact on the people affected.

In gathering knowledge and evidence about the interaction of poverty and crime,Prof Webster and Dr Kingston make explicit the direct and indirect influences and causes of this relationship, which have often remained implicit and unclear in much criminological research and crime policy, denying us access to the triggers and mechanisms that account for the ways poverty and crime are linked.

 

Image courtesy of freedigital photos.net - Stuart Miles

A Christmas Carol at the Merchant’s House Museum

Nickie Phillips

John Kelvin Jones starts in A Christmas Carol at the Merchants Museum (photo:

Demetra M. Pappas, JD, MSc, PhD, Crimcast correspondent

In a time of economic inequality, the plight of the Cratchit family seems particularly poignant in New York City.

For some, the holiday season is about parties; for others, it is about the seasonal performances. Given that I would not have made a clever criminal, I will admit to having been known to enjoy both.  That said, this particular year, I have been performance focused, since my new knee, only two months old after total knee replacement, has not been deemed suitable for partying. (Actually, I quipped to a friend that my knee was probably suited to such occasions, but I had the sort of concern about brushes with others walking while drinking that I usually reserve to New Year's Eve drivers-- no judgment, just a healthy fear of testing the fall-abilities of the “knew knee,” I say self-deprecatingly.)

A unique opportunity presents at the Merchant’s House Museum, 29 East Fourth Street (between Bowery and Lafayette), 212-777-1089, in association with Summoners Ensemble Theatre.  John Kevin Jones offers a tour de force one man performance of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The Director’s Note, by Dr. Rhonda Dodd, explains that Jones was in the midst of developing a five actor version of the Dickens work during 2011,  when he decided to try this version, motivated by Occupy Wall Street and its offshoots (about which I have previously written about for Crimcast).  So it was that Jones took what Dickens did in 1843 and sought to create an abbreviated version of the play that would match Dickens’ comment on social and economic inequality.

Jones succeeds in this effort tremendously. First, he physically inhabits each character as he represents them, going from full ghostly wingspan to (pun admittedly intended) tiny Tiny Tim.  He voices Scrooge’s trembling fear, joyous rediscovery of life, and likewise gives full voice and physicality to Dickens’ female characters, as well.

Second, the play itself is designed for one hour, with 15-minute segments that a lawyer dealing with billable hours would appreciate (roughly Spirit One/Christmas Past, Spirit Two/Christmas Present, Spirit Three/Christmas Future, with background and conclusion getting equal shares of the remaining quarter).  Several lawyers in the audience commented on this as I (also a lawyer) chimed in as to how remarkable it was.

Third, the selection of the Merchant’s House Museum as the location is quite simply inspired. All that the edifice needed (and now has) was a bit of holiday décor (PS on the ground floor, there is a case of vintage stockings and the like, not to be missed on the way in or out).  It is a lovely museum and the front and back rooms provide a perfect setting opportunity (in which folding chairs, which Jones quips are “vintage golden chairs,” as he introduces the performance), are set among the furniture and space of hardware merchant Seabury Treadwell, who purchased the building in 1835, just one year after Dickens authored A Christmas Carol.

cratchit

An additional – and terrific – feature is that Jones himself mingles and chats with audience members as they are leaving the museum.  He told several of us that according to legend (and perhaps even fact), during the writing of the original version (and Jones adapted this version from Dickens’ original touring version, while reintroducing a scene from the original novella), Dickens would wander the streets of London weeping over piece as he planned and re-edited it.  This humanizing authorial angst, combined with activism on behalf of the laboring poor, especially children (which he saw first hand, after his family lost its money and debtors prison resulted for his father, mother and youngest siblings), makes the plight of the Cratchit family even more accessible.

Jones has chiseled and set a jewel of a play at a jewel of a museum.

Crimcast correspondent Demetra Pappas was named the 2012 SGA Faculty Member of the Year at St. Francis College, for her work in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice. Her recent book, Historical Guides to Controversial Issues in America: The Euthanasia/Assisted Suicide Debate (Greenwood Press, 2012)  is a 100-year study of US and UK doctors prosecuted for medical euthanasia/assisted suicide and role of media) and was recently nominated for the 2014 International Qualitative Inquiry Book Prize and was nominated and short listed for the British Society of Criminology 2013 Criminology Book Prize.  In addition to her work on end-of-life issues, she writes about anti-stalking mechanisms, pedagogical methodology, visual sociology and pens work on travel (including what has become known as CSI Demetra travel pieces), theater and the arts, dining and culinary books, and historical/cultural sights.

New Journal Explores Intersection of Health and Justice

Nickie Phillips

Medicine-and-Law-300x168

The graying of America's prison population, drug treatment programs in correctional settings, and the lack of social support for inmates re-entering society... these topics and more are the focus of the new journal Health & Justice, aimed at capturing the interaction between criminal justice systems and health services.  Edited by Faye S. Taxman of George Mason University and Lior Gideon of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, the journal, which already released its first articles online this year, reaches broadly, including researchers across many disciplines as well as justice practitioners and medical professionals working with justice-involved individuals. "Criminal justice populations are highly prevalent in public health problems that are not being addressed.  We feel that not to address them is an injustice," Gideon explained.

The journal looks forward to reviewing and publishing a variety of perspectives drawn from a wide range of methodologies.  "We like theoretical pieces, protocol studies, reviews of innovations in the field, evaluations of treatment programs, meta analyses, all kinds of work related to health and justice," Gideon told Crimcast.

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Click here to download the first open access articles from Health & Justice.

Click here to learn how you can submit a manuscript for review.

Punishment before Prisons: Lessons from Medieval Europe for Modern New Jersey

Nickie Phillips

Celia Chazelle teaches inmates in a New Jersey correctional facility (Photo credit: PrincetonInfo)

In this podcast, Celia Chazelle, editor of Why the Middle Ages Matter, and professor at the College of New Jersey, explores how medieval studies can be a means through which to understand the punitiveness of the American prison system.  We may no longer be putting people on the rack, but violent punishments are not quintessentially medieval either.  Physical violence is intrinsic to the prison system and massive social and economic inequality plagued medieval Europe as it does in the U.S. today. In an exploration of the over-incarceration of Camden, New Jersey residents, and the effects this has on families and communities in the most impoverished and violence-prone city in America, Chazelle puts forth an important argument about respect, honor, and punishment in the medieval past and in today's New Jersey.

[audio http://crimcast.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/punishment-before-prisons-11_23_13-7-34-pm.m4a]

This podcast is a recording of the lecture Chazelle presented on November 13, 2013, at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Human Rights Watch Film Festival

Nickie Phillips

Get tickets for the Human Rights Watch film festival here. Go here for a schedule of all the films showing at the NYC festival. "Anita" is sold out, but tickets remain for other shows.

Born this Way trailer


Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer trailer


99% The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film trailer


An Unreal Dream: The Michael Morton Story


Being Black is Not a Crime: Rally for NYPD Stop and Frisk Reform

Nickie Phillips

panorama crowd

Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights and City University of New York (CUNY) faculty and students, including John Jay College's Center on Race, Crime and Justice, came together to call for police reform outside Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York where the trial Floyd, et. al. v City of New Yorkfeatured key testimony from criminologist Jeffrey Fagan.  In Floyd, several New Yorkers and CCR are arguing that the city's stop-and-frisk policies include racial profiling and suspicion-less stops that violate constitutional protections.

Organizer and Founding Director of the Center on Race, Crime and Justice Dr. Delores Jones-Brown underscored that black and Latino residents have the same constitutional rights and right to safety as anyone else.  "The commissioner and the mayor may say that these policies are effective, but their own data tell a different story," she said.

Activists held giant PowerPoint slides with NYPD data indicating that gun violence has not decreased as a result of aggressive use of stop and frisk, nor were more guns confiscated or shootings prevented.  In 9 out of 10 NYPD stops, no arrests or summons are given -- and of those stops nearly 90 percent are non-whites.  In 2012, over a half-million blacks and Latinos were stopped.  Black and Latino young men between the ages of 14 and 24 are particularly plagued by unjustified stops, accounting for approximately 42% of stops when they are only 5% of the city's total population.

Several CUNY students spoke about their personal experiences with racial profiling and suspicion-less stops, putting faces to the statistics being debated about in the courtroom.  One white student described an incident in which he should have received a summons for two potential violations, but instead was released politely by police, while a student of color described being the victim of police abuse of the stop and frisk policy while he was doing nothing illegal.  Other activists linked the struggle for racial equality with similar struggles for police justice for LGBTQ people and the poor.

Queens College Professor Harry Levine explained that the sheer number of marijuana arrests in the city are largely the fruit of illegal frisks, saying that "The marijuana arrests are the cracker jack prize of the stop and frisks."

Crimcast sat in on expert witness Fagan's cross-examination in which sweeping questions about the normative methodological and theoretical mainstays of criminal justice were posed.  The city's attorney appeared to want to discredit Fagan's social science because the conclusions to his prior studies point to racially disparate outcomes in stop and frisk police discretion.  Rather than confront the lived reality of individuals who routinely endure suspicion-less stops, today's testimony instead had social science on the stand.  As criminologists we were surprised to learn that the city attorney hoped our field had solved major methodological quandaries of our time in completely packaged and unanimous ways, such as how to handle outlier data or whether population is a legitimate benchmark among others for stop and frisk activities.  Fagan dodged this baiting, and informed her of the true landscape of methodological variation in the field-- and in fact wise minds may take different approaches to monumentally complex datasets.

Crimcast predicts that this trial transcript may be of interest to criminologists regarding the application of their work to major policy issues of the day.  Some may even be excited to learn that academic criminology is relevant.  But we hope Floyd does not forget Floyd.  He and many others encounter the police as obstacles in going about their legitimate daily lives.  The chilling quality of these serious Constitutional violations and personal indignities are not fully captured by the numbers.

Women and Poverty Lecture at SFC - Senior Citizen and Women’s Studies Center Lecture Series

Nickie Phillips

Tomorrow (Tuesday, Oct. 16) Paddy Quick will lecture on Women and Poverty at 11:10am in Room 4202 as part of the Senior Citizen and Women’s Studies Center Fall 2012 Lecture Series.

Paddy Quick is an activist, feminist, and Department Chair of Economics at St. Francis College. Dr. Quick received her B.A. in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Oxford University and her Ph.D. in Economics at Harvard University. Dr. Quick is a longtime activist in the civil rights, anti-imperialist and trade union movements. She is also a long time member of the Union for Radical Political Economics, the International Association for Feminist Economics, and the American Economic Association. Her research interests include economic history with a focus on household production.

When: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 at 11:10am

Where: Room 4202, St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street, Brooklyn, NY

The lecture series is sponsored by SFC's Women's Center and Institute for Peace for Peace Justice.

SFC Lectures By and About Radical and Progressive Women

Nickie Phillips

The St. Francis College Institute for Peace and Justice & the Women’s Studies Center are pleased to announce their Fall 2012 Senior Citizens Lecture series. The series is devoted to lectures by and about radical and progressive women and will feature topics such as women and poverty, women and science, women and representations of fundamentalist Islam, and incarcerated mothers. For the month of September, the lectures will feature the following:

On September 11, Emily Horowitz, professor of sociology, will speak on “Women and the 2012 Election.”

On September 25, Bettina Aptheker, political activist, feminist, professor and author, will speak on her life as a pioneering activist in the Free Speech and Women’s Movements.

The lectures will be held at

St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street, Brooklyn, NY

Tuesdays at 11:10am in Room 4202

The lectures are free and open to the public.