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Spring 2024 Speaker Series: Surveillance, Criminalization, and Punishment


More than two decades into the twenty-first century, technological innovations are beginning to outpace even our imaginations. What do these developments mean for the present and future of community safety, racial justice, and the balance of power between communities and the state? In Spring 2024, we explored the promise and peril of new forms of surveillance in the criminal legal system—how advances in technology may improve and/or hinder accuracy and efficiency in law enforcement; allow for reductions in physical barriers of incarceration and detention, while also enabling carceral infrastructure to seep from behind bars out into communities; and herald new discriminatory targeting, deepening or compounding existing inequities. Will modern surveillance, AI, predictive policing, facial recognition, and more shrink the criminal legal system’s footprint or expand criminalization into new domains? On balance, will new technology improve our flawed systems or entrench existing and new harms? We were joined by academics, practitioners, and impacted community members to unpack cutting-edge technological advancements in criminalization and punishment—exploring improvements to the administration of justice and the reproduction of hierarchies of control and domination.

Recordings of  the events are available on the event pages below.

February 14
Profiling in a Digital Age: Facial Recognition, Video Surveillance, and Policing 
Guest: Deborah Raji 

March 6
New Technology and Big Data: Equitable and Objective Advancements, or Net Widening and False Promises of Reform? 
Guests: Sarah Brayne and Nicol Turner Lee

March 13
Police Social Media Monitoring: The New Undercover Assignment
Guests: Rachel Levinson-Waldman and Josh Raisler Cohn

April 10
Digitally Mapping Social Networks: RICO, Electronic Monitoring, and Surveillance of Gangs and Protest Movements
Guests: Babe Howell and Micah Herskind

April 17
New Terrain for Surveillance in Prisons: Wearable Monitoring, Tablets, and Technological Limits on Human Contact 
Guests: Beryl Lipton, Daniel Schwarz, and Nila Bala

May 8
Toward Data Justice: Countermobilization and Community Control
Guests: trina reynolds-tyler, Shakeer Rahman, and Cynthia Conti-Cook



The Surveillance, Criminalization, and Punishment  speaker series is organized by Katy Naples-Mitchell, Program Director of the Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management, and  Sandra Susan Smith, Guggenheim Professor of Criminal Justice; Faculty Director, Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management; Director, Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy; Professor of Sociology; and Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute.