Prosecuting Poverty, Criminalizing Care


Product Details

Cambridge University Press
Publish Date
6.0 X 9.0 X 0.5 inches | 0.71 pounds
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About the Author

Wendy A. Bach is a Professor of Law at the University of Tennessee where she teaches primarily in the clinical program. Over the last 25 years, first as a practicing public-interest lawyer, and for the last 17 years as a Law Professor, Bach has represented poor clients in the courts and systems highlighted in Prosecuting Poverty, Criminalizing Care. She is a nationally recognized scholar in the field of poverty law and has published several law review articles on the relationship between social support and punishment.


'Accessible and riveting, Bach's story shows how Tennessee legislators, bureaucrats, doctors, and social workers came to assume that caring for poor people demands punishment and surveillance. Prosecuting Poverty, Criminalizing Care sheds light on how our health care and social welfare bureaucracies have been absorbed by the criminal legal system - not just in Tennessee, but across the nation. A must-read.' Angela P. Harris, Professor Emerita, Davis School of Law, University of California
'Tennessee promised that its 2014 fetal assault law would provide care for pregnant opioid using women. Inspired by an organizer from Healthy and Free Tennessee, Professor Bach did a deep and moving dive into what actually happened, brilliantly revealing why it is that jail is not treatment and punishment is not care.' Lynn Paltrow, Executive Director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women
'Prosecuting Poverty, Criminalizing Care could not be more important at this moment. With the Supreme Court turned away from justice, it is urgent to attack the criminalization of race, health care, and child welfare systems. You will not put it down.' Peter Edelman, Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Law and Public Policy, Georgetown Law Center
'At this harrowing moment when women's reproductive health is besieged, Bach warns how far states will go to criminalize women's reproductive care. Her exposé illuminates the frightening hazards for women seeking prenatal and substance-use treatment and offers solutions that provide care and not punishment.' Jane M. Spinak, Edward Ross Aranow Clinical Professor of Law, Columbia Law School
'Prosecuting Poverty, Criminalizing Care provides a compelling account of Tennessee's fetal assault law. The book adds to the mounting evidence that these approaches are ineffective and harmful, to mothers, infants, and communities. Pregnant people should be able should access treatment without fear of losing their children or ending up in jail.' Stephen W. Patrick, Director Vanderbilt Center for Child Health Policy, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Health Policy, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee
'With this deep and empirical dive into this history and effects of fetal assault laws, one of the least studied pieces of our long war on drugs and the poor, Wendy Bach exposes and skewers one of our strongest and most persistent myths about criminalization generally, i.e., that it is necessary to help the person punished.' Jonathan Simons, Lance Robbins Professor of Criminal Justice Law, Berkeley Law School
'Prosecuting Poverty, Criminalizing Care reveals a story both devastatingly ordinary and terrifyingly American. Bach's compassionate, well-researched, and skillful telling of what happened when Tennessee prosecuted women who used drugs during pregnancy is essential to understanding the state of reproductive justice in the United States. At a moment when the fundamental rights of women to control their bodies is under siege, no story could be more urgent.' Deborah N. Archer, New York University Professor of Clinical Law, Co-Faculty Director, Center on Race, Inequality, and the Law, President, American Civil Liberties Union
'Wendy Bach has written a book that helps us understand the inhumanity that results when we try to solve every problem we face with police, prosecutors, prisons, and probation officers. Prosecuting Poverty, Criminalizing Care is required reading for a society that wants to imagine solutions to our troubles that do not involve carceral systems.' Khiara M. Bridges, Professor of Law, UC Berkeley School of Law