Keeping Track: Surveillance, Control, and the Expansion of the Carceral State

43 Pages Posted: 26 Mar 2016 Last revised: 24 Aug 2022

See all articles by Kathryne M. Young

Kathryne M. Young

The George Washington University Law School

Joan Petersilia

Stanford University

Date Written: January 25, 2016


This Review argues that an important root cause of our criminal justice ails can be found in the social processes that comprise the system’s daily activities and forms of control over individual Americans — processes largely taken for granted. To explore the ground level interpersonal interactions that underpin the criminal justice system, we engage three recent books: Pulled Over: How Police Stops Define Race and Citizenship by Professors Charles Epp, Steven Maynard-Moody, and Donald Haider-Markel; On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City by Professor Alice Goffman; and The Eternal Criminal Record by Professor James Jacobs. Substantively and methodologically, the books might first seem an odd trio. But together, they reveal the importance of a key phenomenon: “surveillance” in the word’s broadest sense — keeping track of people’s movements, histories, relationships, homes, and activities.

Keywords: mass incarceration, police surveillance, community policing, collateral consequences, racial disparities

Suggested Citation

Young, Kathryne and Petersilia, Joan, Keeping Track: Surveillance, Control, and the Expansion of the Carceral State (January 25, 2016). Kathryne M. Young and Joan Petersilia, "Keeping Track: Surveillance, Control, and The Expansion of the Carceral State," 129 Harvard Law Review 1318 (2016)., Stanford Public Law Working Paper No. 2754626, Available at SSRN:

Kathryne Young (Contact Author)

The George Washington University Law School ( email )

2000 H St NW
Washington, DC

Joan Petersilia

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

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