The Long Arm of the Law: Incarceration and the Ordinary Family
16 Pages Posted: 4 Dec 2011
Date Written: December 3, 2011
This Article examines how the ordinary family uses popular narratives about the criminal justice system to cope with and reconcile the increasing intrusion of the system into the family experience. It explores these narratives in the context of a morality play, discussing common perceptions about the court, law enforcement, criminals, and the law itself, as reflected through dramatic television shows and movies. The Article argues that these narratives cultivate a common bond that crosses race and class, giving ordinary families a common enemy: a dysfunctional criminal justice system that systematically overpunishes and overincarcerates.
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