Systemic Endangerment: A Tale of Neoliberal “Slumcare” – Critical Criminology – article

Systemic Endangerment: A Tale of Neoliberal “Slumcare”

Kenneth A. Cruz | Critical Criminology

2019-11-01

In this case study of neoliberal responsibilization (Garland 1996), I used grounded theory methods to explore practitioners’ experiences of Therapeutic Crisis Intervention at a for-profit, violence-prevention, group home for troubled youth. While previous research has shown that responsibilization can create spaces for on-the-ground resistance to post-welfarism and the reemergence of rehabilitative practices, this study shows that it can also lead to irresponsibly dangerous practices. As a result of this analysis, I introduce the concept of “slumcare” to capture a broad array of egregiously substandard behavioral-healthcare interventions that are provided throughout the United States in the name of crime prevention. While systemic endangerment is just one illustration of “slumcare,” I contend that three interrelated processes—priority corruption, a paper trail of propriety, and the evasion of criticism—explain how the neoliberal state enables a host of “slumcare practices”—including systemic endangerment—to persist beyond the walls of this particular site.

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