What I’m Reading: Dorothy E. Roberts — Prison, Foster Care, and the Systemic Punishment of Black Mothers


This Article analyzes how the U.S. prison and foster care systems work together to punish black mothers in the service of preserving race, gender, and class inequality in a neoliberal age. The intersection of these systems is only one example of many forms of overpolicing that overlap and converge in the lives of poor women of color. I examine the statistical overlap between the prison and foster care populations, the simultaneous explosion of both systems in recent decades, the injuries that each system inflicts on black communities, and the way in which their intersection in the lives of black mothers helps to naturalize
social inequality. I hope to elucidate how state mechanisms of surveillance and punishment function jointly to penalize the most marginalized women in our society while blaming them for their own disadvantaged positions.


What the Florida Supreme Court won’t be hearing

The Florida Supreme Court denied cert in three cases this week. If anyone has any more information about them, I would greatly appreciate it.

  • T.Y.C. v. DCF – A case from the Second that has done a lot of bouncing around. First there was an untimely appeal in June 2011. Then I assume a writ was granted in the trial court, but it appears that the appeal wasn’t prosecuted in September. Then cert was denied by the Supreme Court in November and again now in January. I’m going to guess pro se
  • T.H. v. DCF – Most likely the ineffective assistance of counsel case that I was so excited about. It’s not clear if the evidentiary hearing was held before Judge Robinson or if the father tried to go right to the Supreme Court. Either way: no luck this time. 
  • J.B. v. DCF – An appeal from a citation opinion out of the Fifth, citing to In re E.R., 49 So.3d 846 (Fla. 2d 2010), which is an 18-page opinion with at least six holdings according to Westlaw. The Fifth could have at least dropped a page number in there so we have some clue as to what part of E.R. it found so convincing.