Issa Kohler-Hausmann

presents

Misdemeanorland:
Criminal Courts and Social Control in an Age of Broken Windows Policing

in conversation with JEANNIE SUK GERSEN

This event includes a book signing

Date

May
1
Tuesday
May 1, 2018
7:00 PM

Location

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Tickets

This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store welcomes Yale law and sociology professor ISSA KOHLER-HAUSMANN for a discussion of her debut book, Misdemeanorland: Criminal Courts and Social Control in an Age of Broken Windows Policing. She will be joined in conversation by Harvard Law professor JEANNIE SUK GERSEN.

About Misdemeanorland

Felony conviction and mass incarceration attract considerable media attention these days, yet the most common criminal-justice encounters are for misdemeanors, not felonies, and the most common outcome is not prison. In the early 1990s, New York City launched an initiative under the banner of Broken Windows policing to dramatically expand enforcement against low-level offenses. Misdemeanorland is the first book to document the fates of the hundreds of thousands of people hauled into lower criminal courts as part of this policing experiment.

Drawing on three years of fieldwork inside and outside of the courtroom, in-depth interviews, and analysis of trends in arrests and dispositions of misdemeanors going back three decades, Issa Kohler-Hausmann argues that lower courts have largely abandoned the adjudicative model of criminal law administration in which questions of factual guilt and legal punishment drive case outcomes. Due to the sheer volume of arrests, lower courts have adopted a managerial model--and the implications are troubling. Kohler-Hausmann shows how significant volumes of people are marked, tested, and subjected to surveillance and control even though about half the cases result in some form of legal dismissal. She describes in harrowing detail how the reach of America's penal state extends well beyond the shocking numbers of people incarcerated in prisons or stigmatized by a felony conviction.

Revealing and innovative, Misdemeanorland shows how the lower reaches of our criminal justice system operate as a form of social control and surveillance, often without adjudicating cases or imposing formal punishment.

Praise

"In this capacious book, criminal defense attorney, sociologist, and legal scholar Issa Kohler-Hausmann takes us inside New York City's lower criminal courts. She shows that, instead of deciding guilt and innocence and meting out appropriate sentences, misdemeanor courts largely manage people through record keeping and procedural hassle. As a result, people accused of minor crimes come to experience the justice system as arbitrary and dysfunctional. Novel and deeply researched, Misdemeanorland is a major contribution from a brilliant mind." —Matthew Desmond, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Evicted

"Somewhere between stop-and-frisk and mass incarceration stands the misdemeanor court, where millions of Americans spend months waiting to answer for the low-level arrests that are now part of life in poor communities of color. Issa Kohler-Hausmann takes readers on a tour of Misdemeanorland, where justice is overwhelmed by massive caseloads and a grinding bureaucracy that takes little notice of the ordinary lives disrupted and sometimes upended by the powers of arrest and incarceration." —Bruce Western, professor of sociology at Harvard University

"With vivid, compelling ethnographic detail, Kohler-Hausmann provides an original examination of the rise of Broken Windows policing in New York and its consequences for those brought to court on low-level charges. Misdemeanorland is a critically important work of scholarship." —Mona Lynch, author of Hard Bargains: The Coercive Power of Drug Laws in Federal Court

Issa Kohler-Hausmann
Issa Kohler-Hausmann

Issa Kohler-Hausmann

Issa Kohler-Hausmann is an Associate Professor of Law at Yale Law School and Associate Professor of Sociology at Yale. Her primary research interests are in criminal law, criminal procedure, empirical legal studies, tort law, sociology of law, and legal theory. 

Jeannie Suk Gersen
Jeannie Suk Gersen

Jeannie Suk Gersen

Jeannie Suk Gersen is the John H. Watson, Jr. Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, where she has taught criminal law and procedure, family law, and the law of art, fashion, and the performing arts. Before joining the faculty in 2006, she served as a law clerk to Justice David Souter on the United States Supreme Court, and to Judge Harry Edwards on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. She has written three books and many articles in scholarly journals and general media. Her book, At Home in the Law, was awarded the Law and Society Association's Herbert Jacob Prize for the best law and society book of the year. She has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a fellow of the MacDowell Colony, and a recipient of Harvard Law School's Sacks-Freund Award for Teaching Excellence. She is a contributing writer for newyorker.com.

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes

As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.

Unable to attend a Harvard Book Store author event? You can still pre-order a signed book by one of our visiting authors.

While we can't guarantee fulfillment of a signed book pre-order, our authors are almost always able to sign extra books to fulfill such orders.

Ordering a signed book on harvard.com:

  • Add the book to your shopping cart and then click Checkout.
  • Specify in Order Comments that you want a signed copy of the book.
  • Please note: online orders for signed copies must be placed at least one business day before the event. If you are ordering the day of, please call us instead.

Ordering a signed book by phone:

  • Call us at (617) 661-1515 and one of our booksellers will take your order. Specify you'd like a signed copy.
  • If you are requesting a personalized inscription and/or requesting your book be shipped, we'll need to take down credit card information. If you are planning to pick up the signed book in the store, you can pay on pick-up.

FAQ:

Can I request a personalized inscription?
Unless otherwise noted, we are happy to take requests for the author to sign your book to a specific person, but we can't guarantee it. If you do get a personalized inscription, the book will be non-returnable. We will require credit card information when you place the order.

Do signed books cost more?
There is no extra fee for a signed book!

Do I have to pick it up in the store, or can you deliver my signed book?
As with all web or phone orders, we can hold your book for in-store pickup, or ship it anywhere in the country.

I am planning to attend an author event. Do I need to pre-order a book?
No need. We'll be selling books at the event, and nearly all of our events include a signing at the end of the talk.

More questions? Give us a call!

Purchase the Book
Featured event books will be for sale at the event for 20% off. Thank you for supporting this author series with your purchases.
General Info
(617) 661-1515
info@harvard.com

Media Inquiries
mediainquiries@harvard.com

Accessibility Inquiries
access@harvard.com

Our Frequent Buyer Card

Members of our Frequent Buyer Program receive benefits at Harvard Book Store and harvard.com. Sign up for free!

Learn More »

Subscribe

Author event updates +
book recommendations.
In your inbox, once a week.

Learn More »

Shipping & Delivery

Shipping rates
and options, locally
and throughout
the U.S.

Learn More »