Rutgers Professor explores the lessons of Baltimore and Ferguson”

Rutgers University Political Scientist Lisa Miller, a longtime Highland Park resident, will lead a discussion about the economic, social, and racial climate in our society that has led to the recent violence in places like Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland. Save the date for this thought-provoking and important community event: Monday, June 29 at 7 p.m. at the Highland Park Public Library (HPPL), 31 North Fifth Avenue. This is the first in a series of talks featuring Rutgers Faculty at the HPPL.

Fifty years ago this year, the uprising in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles symbolized a nation in crisis over vast inequalities in personal safety (from both police and fellow citizens), economic opportunity, and social and political power. Today, society seems to be at a remarkably similar crossroads. With several instances of killing of unarmed Black men by police followed by destructive demonstrations within the urban community, people are turning their attention to the concentrated economic and social disadvantages of residents in urban areas, as well as the racial attitudes. Dr. Miller explores the question of what policies have contributed to these social and economic and racial divisions.

This talk places the issues of policing, crime and punishment within a larger context of racial inequality in the United States and explores how some of the same issues that plagued the nation in the middle of the 20th century have recurred in the early 21st. She also will discuss some core differences between the two eras that make the current era more likely to produce real policy change.

Her most recent book is The Perils of Federalism: Race, Poverty and the Politics of Crime Control. (2008, Oxford University Press). Dr. Miller is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. She has a Ph.D. from the University of Washington and a B.A. from the University of Virginia.  Her interests are at the intersection of law and social policy, specifically the politics of punishment and the legal and political mobilization of racial minorities on crime and justice issues. She has written extensively on the development of crime and justice policy and legal frameworks in the United States and has also published research examining the inner workings of the federal criminal courts.

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