by Matthew Chase

A round-up of recent sources by sociologists and/or about sociology in action. This week, we focus on issues of mass incarceration, court decisions, substance abuse, and policing.

In general, the public was more accepting of measures limiting the types of people who could obtain weapons than of restrictions on the types of guns and accessories available on the market.


…he attracted the attention of police because of his appearance. The police take pictures of neighborhoods, and if they see people who they believe don’t have the right appearance, they want the police to clean up the blocks, so Garner was sort of a target of police because he was big, because he had a kind of a slovenly appearance, and because…there are certain people who decided he was just unseemly to look at. 


Police know, going into one of ‘those’ communities, that they are entering a threatening environment. The police will often respond to such patrols with an ‘us against them’ mentality. The community also looks with suspicion on the police, seeing cops as oppressors and representatives of a system that serves only to abuse and exploit the members of the community.


It’s important to share what you know and support people. Even police officers, when they get too involved or don’t get involved enough, need their peers to correct them.


‘Grandparents and other relatives are being deeply impacted by the opioid epidemic,’ said Donna Butts, executive director of Generations United, a Washington, D.C.-based group that advocates for intergenerational families. ‘They’re being called on more and more, and usually quite suddenly, to step in and take care of children whose parents are either in jail, in treatment programs, or dead.’


Can you imagine spending years without having regular social interactions or without full access to basic human activities like showering and exercising? When did it become O.K. to lock up someone who is severely mentally ill and let the demons chase him around in the cell? What is wrong with us?


In an era when “facts are often dismissed as ‘fake news,’ we are particularly concerned about a person of your stature suggesting to the public that scientific measurement is not valid or reliable and that expertise should not be trusted,” Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, president of the association and a professor of sociology at Duke University, wrote to Roberts in an open letter. “What you call ‘gobbledygook’ is rigorous and empirical.”


This report provides a first-of-its-kind detailed view of the 219,000 women incarcerated in the United States, and how they fit into the even larger picture of correctional control.