Shreya P Subramani
Grant TypeHunt Postdoctoral Fellowship
Institutional AffiliationNew York, John Jay College, City U. of
Grant numberGr. 10188
Approve DateOctober 7, 2021
Project TitleSubramani, Shreya (New York, John Jay College, City U. of) "Carcerality in Transition: Racializing Progressive Governance in New Orleans "
Carcerality in Transition: is an ethnography of contemporary American criminal justice reform in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana. It charts the progressive policy shifts and prisoner reentry programming that provide services and resources for formerly incarcerated people returning to city life. By studying a unique collaboration between Angola State Prison, an experimental workforce development court and a nonprofit service provider, Building Up, I explore the institutional and intimate experiences of formerly incarcerated men and their families, legal professionals, nonprofit operatives, city planners and municipal bureaucrats as they differentially construct this progressive reform space. While reentry is articulated as a movement toward racial equity through decarceration, criminal justice innovations –characterized by a valorization of entrepreneurialism, design-thinking, data-driven best practices and humanitarian care– ultimately work to defer collective potentials for racial justice. The very exigencies of providing services under such reforms, like jobs and housing, to formerly incarcerated people rely on the remobilization of carceral logics and capacities. I theorize how the novel extensions of carceral power shape changing labor and housing markets in the city through racial differentiation. This work is also attentive to how my interlocutors evade and exceed these forces to animate a more radical politics oriented toward nonpunitive and redistributive practices. Carcerality in Transition is thus also a search for the practices and relations that potentiate abolition.