by Rob Humphreys ’16 MBA | Photos by Scott Cook
How has the war on drugs driven incarceration rates and fueled racial disparities in the criminal justice system? What happens when the people entrusted with protecting society end up inflicting the same type of violence they’re supposed to police? Most importantly, what can be done about it?
More and more, these are the types of issues that grab headlines and capture America’s attention. At Rollins, they’re coming under the spotlight too as part of professor Lisa Tillmann’s Incarceration and Inequality course.
Incarceration and Inequality
Lisa Tillmann, professor of critical media and cultural studies
Class, race, nationality, and sex profoundly affect a person’s interactions with official “justice” systems, influencing factors such as: who gets stopped, patted down, searched, arrested, and/or charged; who receives what kind of legal representation (if any); who is prosecuted, pressured to plead guilty, and/or convicted; who does time and how much.
This class examines ways privilege and inequality manifest in, for example, the criminalization of drugs, the militarization of policing, prison privatization, solitary confinement, the death penalty, and extrajudicial imprisonment, torture, and killing.
“The goal is not to lock students into the sadness or moral outrage,” Tillmann says. “Instead, I try to mobilize them into a goal of social change where they advocate for new policies to real people who have a stake in the process.”