152 | Charis Kubrin on Criminology, Incarceration, and Hip-Hop


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By Sean Carroll and Sean Carroll | Wondery. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

It’s all well and good to talk abstractly about morality and justice, but at some point you have to sit down and figure out what to do about people who break the rules. In our modern legal system, mostly that involves incarceration, especially for so-called “street crimes.” Here in the US, we’ve taken that strategy to extremes, leading the world in the number of incarcerated people per capita. How do we decide who goes to prison, and how should we decide? I talk with criminologist Charis Kubrin on how the justice system distinguishes guilt from innocence. We discuss one interesting issue at length: the use of rap lyrics written by defendants as evidence of guilt. What role should artistic creations play in deciding someone’s culpability of a crime?

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Charis Kubrin received her Ph.D. from the University of Washington. She is currently a professor of Criminology and Law and Society at the University of California, Irvine. She is co-author of the textbook Introduction to Criminal Justice: a Sociological Perspective. Among her awards are the Ruth Shonie Cavan Award and the Coramae Richey Mann Award from the American Society of Criminology, and the W.E.B. DuBois Award and the Paul Tappan Award from the Western Society of Criminology.

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278 episodes