Introduction by Dr. Jason Michael Williams

Dr. Jason Michael Williams I Criminal Justice I June 27th, 2013

Greetings and welcome to the Criminal Justice Department here at the Hampton Institute. This division within the institute will serve as a critical haven on a variety of criminal justice and criminological issues. Our contributors are well versed in the subject area and will cover issues such as feminist criminology, critical criminology, gender, class, race, ethnicity and crime, juvenile justice, policing, corrections, law, and social control.

Why do we consider ourselves a critical haven?

In the post-911 context, coupled with unprecedented surveillance and loss of liberty, it is important for such topics to be covered in a highly critical manner. The fashion in which the aforementioned topics are covered in the mainstream context provides to its readers an incomplete conclusion. Moreover, incomplete conclusions not only hinder readers from knowing the truth, but they also make it harder for readers to contextualize better justice in the post-911 era. This department will serve as an unapologetic analyst of post-modernity, the cultural logic of neoliberalism.

Neoliberalism has been consistently connected to the colorblind doctrine, which makes it a quintessential threat in modern day social discourse because, although it advocates hyper-individualism and public to private ownership as a social "benefit," it overwhelmingly ignores difference. This department believes in defining those differences and their place within social discourse, exclusively as they pertain to criminal justice and criminology.

What are three major criminal justice issues today?

1. Mass incarceration is perhaps the biggest issue of our time, for it ruins lives, families, and entire neighborhoods. For quite some time, studies have shown that racial-minorities are the quintessential victims of mass incarceration; however, even with such harm, mass incarceration still remains as a major setback in criminal justice policy. This department will address this discourse forthrightly and critically.

2. The infamous "War on Drugs" is yet another issue that begs for critical assessment in the post-modern context. It is essential to understand that from the days of Nixon to the present, the logic behind the war on drugs has changed quite immensely in its content and administration. However, throughout its tenure like mass incarceration it has affected racial-minorities at higher rates when compared to Caucasians. This never-ending war has racial-political and economic implications that will be explained further in forthcoming articles.

3. The over-criminalization of juveniles has increasingly become a major issue in criminal justice discourse. Even the slightest thought of jailing juveniles for potential life sentences has caused many countries to ban such punishment on humanitarian grounds. However, the United States remains very punitive when appropriating punishment to juveniles. Furthermore, much like adults, juveniles too have become a prison commodity in a public to private enterprise built on the backs of the criminally condemned. This product of post-modernity has gender, racial, and geographical implications that will be expounded upon in further articles as well.

It is my hope that readers will find this department interesting and very resourceful. Please do not hesitate to e-mail the contributors stationed in this department if you should have any questions or requests regarding any of the issues covered within this department. Remember to stay tuned daily for article updates.

- Dr. Jason Michael Williams

Criminal Justice Department Chair

Hampton Institute