You Have the Right to Remain Powerless: Deprivation of Agency by Law Enforcement and the Legal and Carceral Systems

By Washington University School of Law; Saint Louis University - School of Law; Phillips Black, Inc., | November 10, 2022

Stoneleigh Fellow Jennifer Merrigan released a new article for St. John’s Law Review discussing specific ways in which the justice system confiscates the agency and power of marginalized communities from arrest to incarceration. 

At every point of contact the criminal legal system strips individuals and marginalized communities of agency. From arrest, to appointment of counsel, to incarceration, the legal and carceral systems corrode individual and collective autonomy, particularly in communities of color. This article examines specific ways in which law enforcement, the legal system and the carceral state excise power, and proposes immediate measures that must be enacted to restore power to incarcerated individuals.

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