The Unexpected Role of Women’s Liberation in Mass Incarceration
A Conversation with Aya Gruber
Webinar hosted by David S. Prescott,
Editor of Safer Society Press
The Feminist War on Crime explains how feminists, in their quest to secure women’s protection from domestic violence and rape, became soldiers in the war on crime and contributors to mass incarceration by emphasizing white female victimhood, expanding the power of police and prosecutors, touting the problem-solving power of incarceration, and diverting resources toward law enforcement and away from marginalized communities. Today, many feminists grapple with the problem of hyper-incarceration in the United States, and yet commentators on gender crime continue to assert that criminal law is not tough enough. This punitive impulse is dangerous and counterproductive. In order to reverse this troubling course, Gruber contends that we must abandon the conventional feminist wisdom, fight violence against women without reinforcing the American prison state, and use criminalization as a technique of last—not first—resort.
Aya Gruber is a professor at the University of Colorado Law School, where she teaches criminal law, criminal procedure, and critical theory. As a lifelong feminist, a former public defender, a professor of criminal law for eighteen years, and a survivor, she has personally and professionally grappled with the issue of feminism’s influence on criminal law for decades. With her book, The Feminist War on Crime, Gruber seeks to engage the new generation of energized feminists who care deeply about women’s equality and ending mass incarceration. Professor Gruber received her B.A. in philosophy from U.C. Berkeley, summa cum laude and her law degree magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where she was an editor on the Harvard Women’s Law Journal and founder of the Interracial Law Students’ Association.