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Truth and Reparation for the U.S. Imprisonment and Policing Regime: A Transitional Justice Perspective


Page, Jennifer M; King, Desmond (2022). Truth and Reparation for the U.S. Imprisonment and Policing Regime: A Transitional Justice Perspective. Du Bois Review, 19(2):209-231.

Abstract

In the literature on transitional justice, there is disagreement about whether countries like the United States can be characterized as transitional societies. Though it is widely recognized that transitional justice mechanisms such as truth commissions and reparations can be used by Global North nations to address racial injustice, some consider societies to be transitional only when they are undergoing a formal democratic regime change. We conceptualize the political situation of low-income Black communities under the U.S. imprisonment and policing regime in terms of three criteria for identifying transitional contexts: normalized collective and political wrongdoing, pervasive structural inequality, and the failure of the rule of law. That these criteria are met, however, does not necessarily mean that a transition is taking place. Drawing on the American political development and abolition democracy literatures, we discuss what it would mean for the United States to transition out of its present imprisonment and policing regime. A transitional justice perspective shows the importance of not only pushing for truth and reparation, but for an actual transition.

Abstract

In the literature on transitional justice, there is disagreement about whether countries like the United States can be characterized as transitional societies. Though it is widely recognized that transitional justice mechanisms such as truth commissions and reparations can be used by Global North nations to address racial injustice, some consider societies to be transitional only when they are undergoing a formal democratic regime change. We conceptualize the political situation of low-income Black communities under the U.S. imprisonment and policing regime in terms of three criteria for identifying transitional contexts: normalized collective and political wrongdoing, pervasive structural inequality, and the failure of the rule of law. That these criteria are met, however, does not necessarily mean that a transition is taking place. Drawing on the American political development and abolition democracy literatures, we discuss what it would mean for the United States to transition out of its present imprisonment and policing regime. A transitional justice perspective shows the importance of not only pushing for truth and reparation, but for an actual transition.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:01 Faculty of Theology and the Study of Religion > Center for Ethics
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Philosophy
Dewey Decimal Classification:100 Philosophy
320 Political science
Language:English
Date:16 November 2022
Deposited On:16 Nov 2021 11:19
Last Modified:27 Mar 2024 02:54
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN:1742-058X
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1017/s1742058x21000357
Related URLs:https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/du-bois-review-social-science-research-on-race/article/truth-and-reparation-for-the-us-imprisonment-and-policing-regime/35ACAA0A1EDBF62188508F4F85663C23 (Publisher)
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)