Barkan co-authors Oxford University Press blog ‘Black lives matter in prisons too’

University of Maine Sociology professor Steven Barkan co-authored an Oxford University Press blog titled “Black lives matter in prisons too” with Bates College associate professor of sociology and alumnus Michael Rocque. They wrote that if Black people have higher street crime rates “it’s because they are so much more likely than whites to live in poverty and near poverty; to live in low-income urban neighborhoods whose social and physical features contribute to crime rates; and to be victims of racial discrimination and microaggressions.” And inside prison, “African-Americans are more likely to be assaulted by staff … . In addition, some research has found African-Americans are more likely to be placed in solitary confinement, which is associated with poorer mental health outcomes.” The professors wrote that strategies such as “ending legacy policies from the war on drugs, removing mandatory minimums, and offering implicit bias training to criminal justice system actors can help” as can “increasing the focus on reintegration, particularly the obstacles facing people released from prison, will also help break the cycle.”