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Public Lecture
Invisible Men: Mass Incarceration and the Myth of Black Progress


On Wednesday, November 4, from 6–8 pm, UMD’s Center for Ethics and Public Policy is sponsoring a public lecture by Professor Becky Pettit, from the University of Texas-Austin, on the impact of mass incarceration upon African American men.

This event is free and open to the public and takes place at UMD’s Solon Campus Center, Room #120. This lecture is funded by the Charles Koch Foundation.

Abstract: For African American men without a high school diploma, being in prison or jail is more common than being employed—a sobering reality that calls into question post-Civil Rights era social gains. It is more common for black men to go to prison or jail for at least a year than to finish college or serve in the military. Incarceration is also deeply concentrated among those with low levels of education. Between one quarter and one third of black men can expect to spend at least a year in prison or jail and upwards of 60% of black men who’ve dropped out of high school spend at least a year behind bars. Point-in-time estimates show that more than 1 in 3 young black men who’ve dropped out of high school are currently incarcerated and young black men without a high school diploma are more likely to be incarcerated in prison or jail than they are to be employed. Invisible Men provides an eye-opening examination of how mass incarceration has concealed decades of racial inequality.

Becky Pettit is professor of Sociology at the University of Texas-Austin. She is a sociologist, trained in demographic methods, with interests in social inequality broadly defined. She is the author of two books and numerous articles which have appeared in the American Sociological Review, the American Journal of Sociology, Demography, Social Problems, Social Forces, and other journals. Her newest book, Invisible Men: Mass Incarceration and the Myth of Black Progress (Russell Sage Foundation 2012) investigates how decades of growth in America's prisons and jails obscures basic accounts of racial inequality. Her previous book, co-authored with Jennifer Hook of the University of Southern California, Gendered Tradeoffs: Family, Social Policy, and Economic Inequality in Twenty-One Countries (Russell Sage Foundation 2009) was selected as a Noteworthy Book in Industrial Relations and Labor Economics in 2010.

Pettit has been the recipient of many honors and awards. Her paper “Black-White Wage Inequality, Employment Rates, and Incarceration” (with Bruce Western of Harvard University) received the James Short paper award from the American Sociological Association Crime, Law, and Deviance Section. Another paper “Mass Imprisonment and the Life Course: Race and Class Inequality in U.S. Incarceration” (with Western) received Honorable Mention from the American Sociological Association Sociology of Law Section Article Prize Committee. A related paper (also with Hook) was a finalist for the 2006 Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award for Excellence in Work-Family Research.

For more information about this event and the Center for Ethics and Public Policy, see https://sites.google.com/a/d.umn.edu/cepp/

 



October 2015

UMD News Articles | News Releases
Cheryl Reitan, creitan@d.umn.edu


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