Policing and Residential Segregation: Toward a Research and Policy Agenda
Conversations about police reform in sociological, criminological, and legal scholarship typically take a narrow view of the multiple, complex roles that policing plays in American society, focusing primarily on police involvement in systems of crime control. Yet, we know that policing serves many non-criminal functions. This project aims to set forth an agenda for studying the routine practices of policing in the daily maintenance of racial residential segregation, one of the central strategies of American racial inequality. This project begins by setting forth a theoretical account of residential segregation, clarifying the distinction between measurable proxies for segregation and the spatial separation that confines, subordinates, and dominates. It then identifies and illustrates six potential mechanisms through which American policing perpetuates residential segregation, drawing from qualitative research. Finally, the project engages a fundamental question central to police transformation movements today: Is an anti-segregation approach to policing possible in a society that is structured through race?
Monica Bell is an Associate Professor of Law at Yale Law School and an Associate Professor of Sociology at Yale University. Her areas of expertise include criminal justice, welfare law, housing, race and the law, qualitative research methods, and law and sociology. Some of her recent work has been published in The Yale Law Journal, Law & Society Review, Social Service Review, and the Annual Review of Law & Social Science. She has also published work in popular outlets such as the Los Angeles Review of Books and the Washington Post.
Before joining the Yale Law School faculty, Bell was a Climenko Fellow & Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School. She previously served as a Liman Fellow at the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, where she worked on matters related to cash assistance to families and disabled adults, child support, unemployment insurance, homeless services, healthcare, and other legal and policy issues affecting low-income women and families. Bell clerked for the Honorable Cameron McGowan Currie of the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina. A first-generation college graduate from South Carolina's Upcountry, Bell holds degrees from Furman University (Truman Scholar), University College Dublin (Mitchell Scholar), Yale Law School, and Harvard University.