The Commodification of Children and the Poor, and the Theory of Stategraft

28 Pages Posted: 29 Apr 2024 Last revised: 1 May 2024

See all articles by Daniel L. Hatcher

Daniel L. Hatcher

University of Baltimore - School of Law

Date Written: April 22, 2024


Across the country, human service agencies, juvenile and family courts, prosecutors, probation departments, police officers, sheriffs, and detention and treatment facilities are churning impoverished children and adults through revenue operations with starkly disproportionate racial impact. Rather than being true to their intended missions of improving welfare and providing equal justice for vulnerable populations, the institutions are mining them with extractive practices that are harmful, unlawful, unconstitutional, and unethical. This Essay considers such commodification schemes under the lens of Professor Bernadette Atuahene’s excellent and important theory of stategraft. The examples discussed provide support for Atuahene’s theory, and this Essay simultaneously urges a broad understanding of the theory’s definitional elements to fully capture the scope of stategraft practices—and to help expand and link the community of scholars and advocates working to expose, unravel, and end such state-led predatory mechanisms.

Keywords: child welfare, poverty, foster care, Medicaid, child support, juveniles, juvenile court, separation of powers, due process, impartiality, ethics, commodification, contracts

Suggested Citation

Hatcher, Daniel L., The Commodification of Children and the Poor, and the Theory of Stategraft (April 22, 2024). Wisconsin Law Review, Vol. 2024, 2024, University of Baltimore School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper Forthcoming, Available at SSRN:

Daniel L. Hatcher (Contact Author)

University of Baltimore - School of Law ( email )

1420 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
United States

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