Events / Neil A. Weiner Research Speaker Series


Criminal Courts and Social Control in an Age of Broken Windows Policing

Past Event
Friday, Sep 21, 2018
12:30 PM — 1:30 PM
Vera Institute of Justice

Felony convictions and mass incarceration attract considerable media attention these days, yet the most common criminal-justice encounters are for misdemeanors, not felonies, and the most common outcome is not prison.

In the early 1990s, New York City launched an initiative under the banner of “Broken Windows” policing to dramatically expand enforcement against low-level offenses. Misdemeanorland is the first book to document the fates of the hundreds of thousands of people hauled into lower criminal courts as part of this policing experiment. Drawing on three years of fieldwork inside and outside of the courtroom, in-depth interviews, and analysis of trends in arrests and dispositions of misdemeanors going back three decades, Issa Kohler-Hausmann argues that lower courts have largely abandoned the adjudicative model of criminal law administration in which questions of factual guilt and legal punishment drive case outcomes.

Issa Kohler-Hausmann is associate professor of law and sociology at Yale University.