Practicum

White Collar Crime in Trinidad

The face of corruption

In Trinidad and Tobago corruption has many faces. From the everyday ‘bobol’ of getting into a carnival band or making bureaucracy more efficient to more corporate forms like the recent $24 billion dollar CLICO treasury scandal and a former Prime Minister’s breach of the Integrity in Public Life Act.

This month Practicum welcomes Dr. Dylan Kerrigan as a guest columnist. Dr. Kerrigan (University of the West Indies) writes regularly for the Trinidad Guardian. His research constitutes a social history of race, class and culture in urban Trinidad with a specific focus on Woodbrook, carnival, and violence. It provided cultural connections between the different political and economic climates/structures of colonialism, post-colonialism and neo-colonialism. He is currently working on a book project on the militarisation of everyday life in urban Port of Spain. 

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Practicum

A Response to “Do Police Departments Need Anthropologists?”

Sin violencia (1)

Without violence (message placed by a citizen). Riot police force in the march of August 29, 2013 in Bogotá, supporting march of the agricultural strike that Colombia experienced for several months. This strike was characterized by an excessive use of force in the countryside and in the cities: the police repression left a balance of 12 dead, 485 wounded and 4 missing persons (Photo by  Wilson Peña-Pinzón)

This month, Practicum would like to welcome Wilson Peña-Pinzón as a guest columnist. Wilson Peña-Pinzón is an anthropologist at the Universidad Externado de Colombia. He is writing his thesis for a MA in Political Studies from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Peña-Pinzón has developed research work around the historical understanding of the Colombian armed conflict through different points of social sciences view: death and power from conflict actors, social and politic memory around war and representations of this from the cinema. He has been professor at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia and the Escuela Colombiana de Carreras Industriales. He is currently professor and researcher at the Department of Anthropology at the Universidad Externado de Colombia and teaches courses on armed conflict and political anthropology.

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Practicum

Do Police Departments Need Anthropologists?

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Police Call Box © Jennie Simpson

As a new year quickly approaches, and we reflect on the increasing calls for police accountability and a critical review of excessive use of force, I want to take this time to review the past year of Practicum and pose two questions for anthropologists and police agencies alike: do police agencies need anthropologists? And what might that look like?

Since its debut, Practicum has explored the practice of applied anthropologists working on issues of policing, criminal justice, juvenile justice and corrections. I’ve been remarkably heartened to see that a community of practitioners exists who have successfully applied the lens and research methodologies of anthropology to these issues. These anthropologists have “produced anthropology” (nod to the 2014 AAA Annual Meeting) in practice in juvenile justice, corrections, and policing and raised the profile of how anthropologists- through theoretical orientation, research techniques, analysis, and praxis- can contribute to the improvement of justice systems.

With this in mind, and a new year approaching, I want to propose a bit of radical thinking. Perhaps it won’t be radical to some of you, and perhaps for others, it might be a bit controversial. But with the events of Ferguson, continued fatalities in interactions between police and people with behavioral health disorders, and the tensions that structural violence and inequalities produce, I see a place for anthropologists placed within police departments. In an excellent panel discussion hosted by the Urban Institute and featuring Chief Ron Brown (Ret.), Chief Cathy Lanier, and Dr. Tracie Keesee, which I encourage you to view, I was struck by the progressive vision of policing and law enforcement that was presented. However, recalling my own experience in working with police officers, I know how hard implementation- even of the best vision- can be, especially within a hierarchical organization. While criminologists have made concrete headways into working within police organizations, anthropologists have not made similar strides. While I can speculate that this can be attributed to the discipline’s historical orientation and notions of appropriate subjects of study and practice, with the emergence of a strong contingent of academic and practicing anthropologists focusing on policing, criminal justice, and security, I find this may be the perfect time to consider how anthropologists can work with and within police organizations.

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Practicum

Confinement, Surveillance, Control: Renewing Anthropology’s Relationship with Criminal Justice Systems

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Police Call Box 3, © Jennie Simpson, 2014

This month, Practicum would like to welcome Scott Catey, Ph.D., J.D. who will be a regular contributor to the section. Dr. Catey is a Senior Program Specialist at the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD) and the National PREA Resource Center (PRC). PREA is the Prison Rape Elimination Act, a federal statute designed to reduce the incidence and prevalence of sexual violence in confinement facilities at federal, state, and local levels. The statute was passed in 2003, and the national PREA standards were issued in 2012 to provide the detailed regulatory requirements for PREA implementation and compliance in confinement facilities. Prior to working at NCCD and PRC, Dr. Catey worked as the PREA Coordinator for the Montana Department of Corrections, and as adjunct professor at Georgia State University and Agnes Scott College.  

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Practicum

Applying Anthropology in Criminal Justice Evaluation: An Interview with Patricia San Antonio

Police Call Box, Washington, DC © Jennie Simpson 2014

Police Call Box, Washington, DC © Jennie Simpson 2014

Welcome to the latest edition of the Practicum feature! In today’s column, I highlight my conversation with Dr. Patricia San Antonio, an applied anthropologist who has worked in the field of monitoring and evaluation of criminal justice programs for the last 20 years. Dr. San Antonio is a senior research analyst and project director at a social sciences consulting firm in the Washington DC metropolitan area.  In the interview we discussed Dr. San Antonio’s career, her focus on monitoring and evaluation of criminal programs and the unique contribution of applied anthropologists in criminal justice work. Read on for more!
 

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Practicum

New Feature: Practicum– Applying Anthropology to the Study of Policing, Security, Crime and Criminal Justice Systems

Police Call Box, Washington, DC © Jennie Simpson 2014

Police Call Box, Washington, DC © Jennie Simpson 2014

Welcome to the new bimonthly feature, Practicum on Anthropoliteia! I am your host and will be guiding this journey into an exploration of the intersections of applied and practicing anthropology with the study of policing, security, crime, and criminal justice systems. Today’s column focuses on mapping out the unique niche of applied work in policing. Comments are welcome!

A year ago, I was asked by a former chief of police now active in policy and research to write a white paper mapping out what a “police anthropologist” might look like, replete with arguments on how anthropologists could contribute both to the study of policing and to police departments. I spent many hours reflecting on my own work with police agencies and imagining how I could translate anthropological aims and methods into work with police agencies. The result was a thoughtful exercise in outlining how anthropologists might be integrated into the world of policing, in which I argued:

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