Research

My research explores the policies and institutions of urban criminal justice systems in the United States since the 1950s. My work is motivated by my commitments to social justice and human dignity.

My current book project is tentatively titled Community of the Condemned: Chicago and the Transformation of the American Jail. A history of jailing in Chicago, it focuses on how incarcerated people and their allies resisted and contested the transformation of American jails in the postwar era.

My second book project stems from my interest in histories of money bail. It explores how criminal courts, reformers, and bail bondsmen developed legal technologies to set the price of freedom for people accused of crimes in the modern US.

I am the author of a 2016 dissertation, Jail America: The Reformist Origins of the Carceral State. Other publications include a 2009 Masters thesis, “Grassroots Power: The Utah Eagle Forum, 1972-2009” and contributions to ABC-CLIO’s reference volume The Encyclopedia of the Sixties: A Decade of Culture and Counterculture. An essay on the oral histories I conducted as part of my MA research, “The Utah Eagle Forum: Legitimizing Political Activism as Women’s Work” was published in Oral History, Community, and Work in the American West, an anthology from the University of Arizona Press. I am currently working on several journal articles related to my research on jails and money bail.

 

melanie.newport@uconn.edu

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