Prisoner Reentry as a Social Institution and the Making Up of the “Ex-offender”

January 26, 2017 @ 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
Vera Institute of Justice
233 Broadway
New York, NY 10279

In the era of mass incarceration, prisoner reentry has become an important social institution in poor, urban communities. However, we know little about the experience of prisoner reentry—particularly for men—nor do we understand the broader implication of our current crime control strategies in shaping the experiences and interactions of these communities, particularly communities of color.

Drawing from ethnographic research on people’s reentry experience in several large cities, this presentation reveals how U.S. crime control policy has produced a new form of citizenship for the criminalized poor—including social and legal exclusion—which alters the nature of American democracy.

Reuben Jonathan Miller is an ethnographer and an assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Social Work. He is also a faculty affiliate in the university’s Department of Afro American and African Studies. His research, writing, and advocacy focuses on the lives of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people and how carceral expansion has transformed the urban landscape.

Miller's work has been published in journals of criminology, human rights, law, public health, psychology, sociology, and social work. He is co-editor of the Routledge Handbook on Poverty in the United States, and two special editions of peer reviewed journals, one on poverty and incarceration, and the other on the state of black male youth and men after Ferguson. He was honored to be invited to membership at the Institute for Advanced Study, one of the world's leading centers for critical inquiry and scholarly innovation, for the 2016-17 academic year.

Miller is currently writing a book on prisoner reentry titled Halfway Home, and is concluding a study on how the rise of the carceral state has transformed the lives of poor, urban communities in the United States and Europe.