Law and Disorder Radio – Chase Madar on The Over-Policing of America: The Criminalization of Everyday Life – Hosts: Heidi Boghosian, Michael Steven Smith & Michael Ratner – Produced by Geoff Brady

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The Over-Policing of America: The Criminalization of Everyday Life

In his recent article titled “The Over-Policing of America,” attorney Chase Madar outlines a familiar narrative about the militarization of police, stop and frisk, and how students get swept into the school-to-prison pipeline. The pattern is clear and who benefits is obvious in the list of over-policing examples compiled by our returning guest, such as criminalizing immigration and how simple economic transactions are closely scrutinized by undercover police.

Attorney Chase Madar:

  • I’m hoping this new term will enter the national lingo: over-policing.
  • What I wrote about is how the policing paradigm has entered the DNA of social policy across the board in the United States. Matters that a generation ago would not require police or prosecutors or criminal law, now suddenly do.
  • That’s in education, in immigration, in family law, even how we regulate the economy.
  • All of these spheres, domains of everyday life, are increasingly regulated by police and prosecutors.
  • It’s a creeping police state. We need to take a very sober look at how we’re governing ourselves and how criminal law is displacing and devouring all other kinds of social regulation.
  • You see more and more disciplinary matters in schools get outsourced to police departments.
  • Police are trained to respond to crimes, and so they respond to everything as a crime. That’s the nature of police.
  • When you send police into a school, the crime is going to sky rocket.
  • Even the way we regulate our economy is suffering from an overdose of criminal law and police powers.
  • What we have frequently is white-collar work getting criminalized by a nest of criminal laws that are very complex, very difficult to understand.
  • It’s not like we have a great financial system that was abused by a few bad apples. We have a really crappy system that’s legal because these people write the laws.
  • Immigration law was mostly under the domain of administrative law with milder penalties, civil penalties.
  • We’re kidding ourselves if we pretend that’s somehow aberrational.
  • Although our political class seems incapable of doing anything constructive about it, they are very adept at channeling all fears about security in any sense into criminal law crack downs and ratcheting up the police state.
  • Our incarceration rate is three times higher than the old East Germany.
  • I think we need to switch very swiftly to alternative ways of social policy in holding our society together, other than throwing cops and prosecutors at it.

Guest – Attorney Chase Madar, a TomDispatch regular and author of a new book, The Passion of Chelsea Manning (OR Books). He’s also a contributor to The London Review of Books and Le Monde Diplomatique.

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