[UCP Books]: Down, Out, and Under Arrest: Policing and Everyday Life in Skid Row

“Extraordinary.”—Mitchell Duneier, author of Ghetto

Policing and Everyday Life in Skid Row

Publication date: August 22, 2016 978-0-226-37081-1
International publication date: September 12, 2016 $27.50/£19.50

For most Americans, the sight of a grandmother sitting on the curb handcuffed and sobbing is unfathomable. For those who live and work in Skid Row, it’s just another Tuesday morning. What if I told you that this grandmother has already been arrested upwards of sixty times? Her crime today is simply sitting on the sidewalk—an arrestable offence in Los Angeles.

Everyone knows that issues of race, poverty, and policing are in the headlines right now. But by looking at the fifty-four blocks of Skid Row, Forrest Stuart can shed some light on how we got here. Down, Out, and Under Arrest is a close-up look at the hows and whys of policing poverty in the contemporary United States. Why are we cutting support for our poorest citizens and then locking them up for sitting on the sidewalk? Stuart spent more than five years immersed in the life of Skid Row—not only with residents, but also with the police charged with managing them. The result is this book, which tells the complex, maddening story of the tragedy of our streets—a tragedy built on mistakes and misplaced priorities more than on heroes or villains—revealing a situation where a lot of people on both sides are genuinely trying to do the right thing, yet too often come up short. Sometimes, in ways that do serious harm.

At a time when distrust between police and the residents of disadvantaged neighborhoods has never been higher, Stuart’s book helps us see where we’ve gone wrong, and what steps we could take to begin to change the lives of our poorest citizens—and ultimately our society itself—for the better.

Forrest Stuart is assistant professor of sociology at the University of Chicago.


Please contact Ashley Pierce at (773) 702-0279 or apierce@uchicago.edu for more information.


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