Loic Wacquant, Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal Government of Social Insecurity (London: Duke University Press, 2009).

Christopher Herring
Content Type
Journal Article
Central European University Political Science Journal
Issue Number
Publication Date
May 2011
Central European University
At the beginning of 2010, the State of California in the throes of fiscal crisis decided that it will open its prison doors to some 6,500 prisoners from its bloated penal system, the largest in America. Yet the savings from this endeavor will only put a small dent in the ballooning budget that is forecasted to continually swell over its current $8 billion price tag and will devour an even greater proportion of its state budget on top of the 11 percent it already consumes next year. As for next steps, the governor proposes handing prisons over to private contractors and opening up a US prison in Mexico for illegal immigrants. None of the plans include reducing judicial sentencing or increasing funds for rehabilitation and counseling for the growing prison population. At the same time, the state legislature continues to slash welfare and education expenditures as Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger proposes to completely eliminate the state's welfare program for families, medical insurance for low-income children and Cal Grants cash assistance to college and university students. The proposals would completely reshape the state's social service network, transforming California from one of the country's most generous states to one of the most tightfisted, while the release of a few prisoners does nothing to curb the sentencing structures that continue to overcrowd the state's penitentiaries.
Political Geography
United States, America, London