Introduction to Special Issue: Incarceration, Violence, and Voice

Date01 May 2022
Published date01 May 2022
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice
2022, Vol. 38(2) 157 –159
© The Author(s) 2022
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/10439862221096893
Introduction to Special Issue:
Incarceration, Violence, and
By Todd R. Clear, Sarah Lageson,
and Jennifer Yang
When Chris Eskridge contacted me with an offer to edit a special issue of this journal,
my initial thought, was, “No.” After 6 years of editing Criminology & Public Policy, I
did not feel an urge to edit a journal again. But the idea stayed with me. I had been
thinking for a while that two things were missing in the national conversation about
mass incarceration: (1) candid recognition of the way our perceptions of violence
handcuff our ability to engage meaningful reform, and (2) the perspective of people
who have been subjected to the steamroller of the American justice system. I offered
to put together a journal of essays on violence written by people who had been or were
currently incarcerated.
I developed a Call for Papers (CFP) that asked for essays that explored personal
experiences with violence, before, during, or after incarceration.
The usual way to publicize a future “special issue” is to distribute a CFP to the
memberships of the relevant academic and professional associations. But when the
special issue is devoted to essays written by people who have been or are currently
incarcerated, there is no “relevant” membership list. How does one widely disseminate
a “call for papers” to people who are or have been in prison?
I turned immediately to two sources.
The first was the Convict Criminology Division of the American Society of
Criminology. This group, more than 100 strong, includes a large number of academic
criminologists who have previously been incarcerated. We sent the CFP to their mem-
bers and received a few submissions, published in this volume.
The second source was the large number of prison-based college programs operat-
ing in various locations around the country. We wrote to the parent organization, The
Alliance for Higher Education in Prison, about our solicitation, and they distributed it
widely. Several of the publications in this volume came from that source.
Word of the project soon got around to Charlie Sullivan, who is the founding direc-
tor of CURE (Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants). He offered to contact
his mailing list of over 10,000 people currently in prison. His note to his mailing list
emphasized that essays could deal with violence at the hands of prison authorities. By
1096893CCJXXX10.1177/10439862221096893Journal of Contemporary Criminal JusticeClear et al.

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