Drug Courts and the Failures of Neoliberal Criminal Justice Reform

In Enforcing Freedom, Kerwin Kaye offers a sharp critique of court-ordered drug treatment. Kaye emphasizes ways that race is used to create images which make drug users seem unworthy of “freedom.” Drug courts are thus part of a long line of “civilizing projects” which target those on the margins with “caring violence,” violence directed at “humanizing” its victims and turning them into good citizens. Kaye offers alternatives meant to expand the terrain for insubordinate lives.

Kerwin Kaye is Associate Professor of Sociology, American Studies, and Feminist, Gender & Sexuality Studies at Wesleyan University.