+ ARE ALL POLITICS LOCAL? A CASE STUDY OF LOCAL CONDITIONS IN A PERIOD OF LAW AND ORDER POLITICS
This article explores how voters in Contra Costa County, California, came to support aggressive criminal justice policies that helped to drive prison growth. As this case study shows, the antitax movement’s successes in the latter 1970s had important implications for local and state politics and government that ultimately shaped support for the law and order movement.
Institutional structures, especially the state’s easily accessible proposition process and the considerable political power of homeowners, facilitated the antitax movement’s successes. This reflected and reinforced deep tensions between state and local government and created new problems and dilemmas for state and local lawmakers. Politically, the antitax movement’s successes helped to mobilize a powerful constituency of affluent property owners receptive to tough anticrime measures and provided a blueprint for the law and order movement’s political success. While state and local lawmakers struggled to manage new challenges, increasingly active and well-organized law and order campaigns thrived in state and local environments.
2016 Campbell, Michael C. “Are all politics local? A case study of local conditions in a period of law and order politics.” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 664 (March): 43-61.
+ HISTORICAL CONTINGENCIES AND THE EVOLVING IMPORTANCE OF RACE, VIOLENT CRIME AND REGION IN EXPLAINING MASS INCARCERATION IN THE UNITED STATES
This article combines insights from historical research and quantitative analyses that have attempted to explain changes in incarceration rates in the United States. We use state-level decennial data from 1970 to 2010 (N = 250) to test whether recent theoretical models derived from historical research that emphasize the importance of specific historical periods in shaping the relative importance of certain social and political factors explain imprisonment.
Also drawing on historical work, we examine how these key determinants differed in Sunbelt states, that is, the states stretching across the nation's South from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific, from the rest of the nation. Our findings suggest that the relative contributions of violent crime, minority composition, political ideology, and partisanship to imprisonment vary over time. We also extend our analysis beyond mass incarceration's rise to analyze how factors associated with prison expansion can explain its stabilization and contraction in the early twenty-first century. Our findings suggest that most of the factors that best explained state incarceration rates in the prison boom era lost power once imprisonment stabilized and declined. We find considerable support for the importance of historical contingencies in shaping state-level imprisonment trends, and our findings highlight the enduring importance of race in explaining incarceration.
2015 Campbell, Michael C., Matt Vogel and Joshua Williams. “Historical Contingencies and the Evolving Importance of Race, Violent Crime and Region in Explaining Mass Incarceration in the United States”. Criminology 53(2): 180-203 *
+ PUNISHMENT FOR HOMICIDE IN EUROPE: RESEARCH CHALLENGES AND A ROADMAP FOR PROGRESS
This chapter examines punishment for homicide in Europe by analyzing statistical data on how various nations sanction homicide offenders. It presents a general survey of existing data on the complex and varied ways that European nations punish these serious offenders, revealing considerable variation across the continent. Officially, most European nations retain very long periods of incarceration, usually life imprisonment, as the sanction for the most serious homicide infractions. But in practice, few offenders are ever prosecuted and sentenced under the law’s most serious infraction. Instead, many European homicide offenders are sentenced for 10–20 years, and rarely serve full terms due to a variety of penal and administrative processes that mitigate incarceration during the punishment phase.
This is less the case in English speaking nations and in Eastern European countries. The United Kingdom and the Russian Federation impose long prison sentences on many homicide offenders, and are increasingly turning to life sentences. Although data limitations severely limit any comprehensive assessment of punishment for homicide in Europe, this chapter helps sketch general trends, and raises questions about how to explain the considerable differences found across the continent.
+ THE EMERGENCE OF PENAL EXTREMISM IN CALIFORNIA: A DYNAMIC VIEW OF INSTITUTIONAL STRUCTURES AND POLITICAL PROCESSES
This article examines legal and political developments in California in the 1970s and early 1980s that led to extreme changes in the state's use of imprisonment. It uses historical research methods to illustrate how institutional and political processes interacted in dynamic ways that continuously unsettled and reshaped the crime policy field. It examines crime policy developments before and after the passage of the state's determinate sentencing law to highlight the law's long-term political implications and to illustrate how it benefited interest groups pushing for harsher punishment. It emphasizes the role executives played in shaping these changes, and how the law's significance was as much political as legal because it transformed the institutional logics that structured criminal lawmaking.
These changes, long sought by the law enforcement lobby, facilitated crime's politicization and ushered in a new era of frenetic and punitive changes in criminal law and punishment. This new context benefited politicians who supported extreme responses to crime and exposed the crime policy process to heightened degrees of popular scrutiny. The result was a political obsession with crime that eschewed moderation and prioritized prison expansion above all else.
+ THE TRANSFORMATION OF AMERICA’S PENAL ORDER: A HISTORICIZED POLITICAL SOCIOLOGY OF PUNISHMENT
Comparative historical methods are used to explain the transformation of the U.S. penal order in the second half of the 20th century. The analysis of multiple state-level case studies and national-level narratives suggests that this transformation has three distinct, but interconnected, historical periods and reveals that the complex interaction between national and state-level politics and policy helps explain the growth in imprisonment between 1970 and 2001.
Specifically, over time, national political competition, federal crime control policy, and federal court decisions helped create new state-level political innovation and special interest groups that compelled lawmakers to increasingly define the crime problem as a lack of punishment and to respond by putting more people in prison for longer periods of time. In turn, state-level developments facilitated increasingly radical crime control politics and policies at the national level that reflected historical traditions found in Sun Belt states.
2013 Campbell, Michael C. and Heather Schoenfeld. "The Transformation of America’s Penal Order: A Historicized Political Sociology of Punishment." American Journal of Sociology 118(5), March: 1375-1423.
+ ORNERY ALLIGATORS AND SOAP ON A ROPE: TEXAS PROSECUTORS AND PUNISHMENT REFORM IN THE LONE STAR STATE
This article presents historical data on changes in punishment policy in Texas, examining how Texas’s prosecutors played an important role in shaping law and policy. This article helps parcel out the relative influence of various factors in driving more punitive policies by examining an unsettled period of legal and policy change when some state leaders were pushing back against the growing tide of prison expansion. Ultimately this period resulted in a new penal code that retained most of the harshest punishments for offenders, and created an additional layer of prison facilities to manage lower-level offenders.
My findings emphasize how these legal changes reflected conflict between state and local government. It also suggests that important contextual factors deeply embedded in Texas’s history helped establish conditions more likely to lead to mass incarceration. These findings suggest that ‘top–down’ and ‘bottom–up’ theoretical accounts of punishment might omit important intervening institutional factors.
+ PERPETUAL “CRISIS” AND THE DYSFUNCTIONAL POLITICS OF CORRECTIONS IN CALIFORNIA
+ POLITICS, PRISONS, AND LAW ENFORCEMENT: AN EXAMINATION OF THE EMERGENCE OF ‘LAW AND ORDER’ POLITICS IN TEXAS
This article examines the rise of “law and order” politics in Texas, providingan in-depth archival case study of changes in prison policy in a Southern stateduring the pivotal period when many U.S. states turned to mass incarceration.
It brings attention to the important role an insurgent Republican governorand law enforcement ofﬁcials played in shaping crime policy. Law enforce-ment’s role is considered within a broader examination of political strategyduring a period of intense socioeconomic volatility. The ﬁndings suggest thatwithin particular political contexts, especially those with low levels of political participation, law enforcement agents might play a key role in shapingpunishment.
+ CRIMINAL DISENFRANCHISEMENT REFORM IN CALIFORNIA: A DEVIANT CASE STUDY
The United States denies voting rights to ex-convicts, parolees, probationers and prisoners on a scale unmatched among democratic nations. State laws establishing voting eligibility vary markedly from no disenfranchisement in some states, to permanent disenfranchisement in others. Existing research suggests that more exclusive laws are associated with larger percentages of nonwhites in the State’s general population and in states with higher percentages of nonwhite prisoners. Little historical research exists explaining how and why certain states have retained disenfranchisement while others have revised these laws.
This article adopts a deviant case analysis framework, where California is examined as a seemingly exceptional example of reform in order to refine existing explanations of disenfranchisement. Through extensive archival research and a content analysis of a key media source, this article explains how and why California changed its disenfranchisement laws in 1974, a year existing research would predict a punitive legal shift. The findings suggest that repeal of disenfranchisement may be linked to the activities and framing strategies of reformers, particularly African-American legislators, the presence of advocacy organizations and political context. This research also suggests that media coverage of criminal justice policy issues is an important factor in the political feasibility of reform.