This is the fourteenth installment of the themed series on Border Criminologies network members. The series aims to present our members’ ongoing research, recent publications, new course modules they might be developing, grants and awards, partnerships and collaborations, and questions they have been considering or struggling with.

Post by Emma Kaufman, Judicial Law Clerk.

My current research examines the transnational development of 'all-foreign' penal institutions, a phenomenon I first encountered during the fieldwork for my book Punish and Expel: Border Control, Nationalism, and the New Purpose of the Prison.  Over the past decade, the United States, like several countries in Western Europe, has begun to segregate its prisons by citizenship status. Today, nearly 30,000 federal prisoners in the U.S. are held in penal institutions classified not by criminal offense or security level, but rather, by alienage. I'm in the process of writing a piece that documents this trend and links it to the privatization of prisons, the criminalization of immigration offenses, and trends in immigration enforcement.

Photo: Reuters

I've also recently wrapped up a project on the law and politics of prisoner repatriation. Prisoner repatriation treaties permit prisoners convicted in one country to serve their sentences in another. The reach of these treaties is vast: in the United States alone, they provide for the international transfer of as much of a quarter of the prison population. In practice, however, repatriation is remarkably rare. This isn't because prisoners want to stay in the United States – in fact, thousands of non-citizen prisoners request repatriation every year, and almost every application is denied. Instead, the critical feature of repatriation is resistance from prison bureaucrats, who often determine that prisoners are 'too American,' or that their crimes are too severe, to license punishment abroad. My recent work examines bureaucratic resistance to repatriation and locates it in a debate about the territoriality of punishment. This project is part of my broader effort to study the effects that globalization has on the practice of punishment. 

Finally, I've been thinking about how to develop law school courses on the post-conviction justice system. Law students in the United States routinely study police, prosecutors, and judges, but spend less time learning about the law of incarceration and post-release 'supervision.' The seminar I'm developing will address this gap by focusing on the life of the law after a criminal conviction. I've also started to work on a course on the administrative management of prisons. The bureaucratic experience and control of prisons is an aspect of the punishment that is often under-appreciated in legal courses, which tend to focus on prisoners’ constitutional rights. This course would fill that void, and would bring scholarship on administrative law into conversation with writing in the sociology of punishment.
On a personal note, I've finished law school, which I started after my doctorate, and I recently published my dissertation as a monograph with Oxford University Press. I was delighted to celebrate the book at a launch in Oxford last summer with many of the people who helped bring the project to life. I'm now living in Brooklyn and I'm planning to go on the job market in the coming year. 

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How to cite this blog post (Harvard style):

Kaufman, E. (2016) Research Update: Emma Kaufman. Available at: (Accessed [date]).