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Conceptual Exorcism and the Idea of Rehabilitation

David Stein


‘Crime’ is a concept that nation-states develop in order to demarcate a border between what it conceives as “goods” and “evils.” This border is never about the actual behaviors, but rather about circumstantial factors, such as the who and the where of the behaviors deemed either good or evil. This border is, in this way, like most borders, both nebulous and sharp, depending upon the circumstances of one’s relationship to it. The judgment of behavior is most closely linked to one’s social location. The state elucidates this relationship with great clarity via the notion of status offenses. As Ruth Wilson Gilmore states, “a status offense is something that is illegal or demands prison time only because of the condition of the person charged.” In many ways, it is instructive to view all offenses as status offenses. An important key to imagining these relations of biocentric taxonomies of crime and criminality is through this notion of the condition.

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ProudFlesh: New Afrikan Journal of Culture, Politics and Consciousness. ISSN: 1543-0855 (online).
Editor: Dr. Sonjah Nadine Stanley-Niaah.

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