Articles | Volume 69, issue 5
Standard article
22 Dec 2014
Standard article |  | 22 Dec 2014

Expanding carceral geographies: challenging mass incarceration and creating a "community orientation" towards juvenile delinquency

E. Brown

Abstract. Increasingly, governments are adopting alternative strategies to mass incarceration and drawing on the rhetoric of community to create softer and less restrictive sanctions. This paper argues that this transition provides an opportunity for geographers concerned with incarceration to consider a more expansive understanding of the carceral state. To call for a more geographically expansive consideration of incarceration, this paper draws upon a study of one juvenile court that sought to end racialized over-incarceration by promoting a "community orientation". As a consequence, juvenile detention now acts as a single node in a broader process of sorting, placing, and punishing, but the carceral aspects of juvenile court involvement did not lessen. Instead, the community orientation encapsulated a range of practices that are traditionally outside the state, yet extended the power of the state over a broad geography that resulted in the coerced mobility of children and subjection to greater insecurity. By tracing how the carceral apparatus extends into neighborhoods, community programs, probation practices, and residential placement, I argue that paying more attention to variegated carceral practices is necessary to more fully consider how incarceration has permeated places outside the prison.