The Role of Prisoner Voice in Criminal Justice Reform

29 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2020

See all articles by Kaitlyn Woltz

Kaitlyn Woltz

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Date Written: December 14, 2020

Abstract

This paper examines the role of prisoner voice in criminal justice reform in the US. Previous research has attributed reform of criminal justice institutions to either political elites or the public. This research has not considered the role of prisoner voice in influencing reform. This paper fills that gap. I argue that prisoner voice—through the avenues of prison journalism and prisoner litigation—serves as an information channel in state criminal justice bureaucracies, holding bureaucrats accountable to their superiors. I conclude that prison journalism is the only avenue for prisoner voice that influences reform in ways that aligns with voters’ interests. Prisoner litigation and prison riots result in reform that drives the growth of state prison systems and loss of prisoner privileges.

Keywords: Criminal Justice Reform, Prison Journalism, Prisoner Litigation, Prison Riots, Economics of Bureaucracy

JEL Classification: K40, H10

Suggested Citation

Woltz, Kaitlyn, The Role of Prisoner Voice in Criminal Justice Reform (December 14, 2020). GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 20-50, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3748768 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3748768

Kaitlyn Woltz (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

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