These dramatic increases in the numbers of people brought into the criminal justice system, and how long they remain under its control, are the result of aggressive policymaking over the past forty years to enhance punitiveness at every stage in the criminal justice process: surveillance, arresting, charging, sentencing, confining, and post-release supervising that never ends due to the permanent constraints placed on ex-convicts. The gross antiblackness throughout the system means that the criminal law does not actually function as it is written, with investigation and adjudication as preludes to punishment, followed by punishment, and then a post-punishment release from state control. Rather, each stage stands as a distinct institutional mandate to punish, experienced by the people subjected to it as a continuous process of antiblack violence contiguous with the history of racial enslavement. These effects are not accidental byproducts of well-intended policy solutions to social problems. As Ruth Gilmore showed over two decades ago, despite dominant explanations that the crack-down responded to increases in crime, drug use, and poverty-related property offences, the opposite is in fact the case. The overall crime rate declined in the 1970s and early 1980s, prior to the expansion of the criminal justice apparatus, and it was precipitous declines in both drug use and property crimes in particular that pushed down the overall rate.
The NYPD announces an aggressive new crackdown on dirt bikes and ATVs in the city, a campaign that will include publicly destroying the vehicles on TV. Criminal justice reporter Dean Meminger has the details.