Down, Out, And Under Arrest: Policing And Everyday Life In Skid Row

Hardcover | August 2, 2016

byForrest Stuart

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In his first year working in Los Angeles’s Skid Row, Forrest Stuart was stopped on the street by police fourteen times. Usually for doing little more than standing there.

Juliette, a woman he met during that time, has been stopped by police well over one hundred times, arrested upward of sixty times, and has given up more than a year of her life serving week-long jail sentences. Her most common crime? Simply sitting on the sidewalk—an arrestable offense in LA.

Why? What purpose did those arrests serve, for society or for Juliette? How did we reach a point where we’ve cut support for our poorest citizens, yet are spending ever more on policing and prisons? That’s the complicated, maddening story that Stuart tells in Down, Out and Under Arrest, a close-up look at the hows and whys of policing poverty in the contemporary United States. What emerges from Stuart’s years of fieldwork—not only with Skid Row residents, but with the police charged with managing them—is a tragedy built on mistakes and misplaced priorities more than on heroes and villains. He reveals a situation where a lot of people on both sides of this issue are genuinely trying to do the right thing, yet 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.

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From the Publisher

In his first year working in Los Angeles’s Skid Row, Forrest Stuart was stopped on the street by police fourteen times. Usually for doing little more than standing there. Juliette, a woman he met during that time, has been stopped by police well over one hundred times, arrested upward of sixty times, and has given up more than a year o...

Forrest Stuart is assistant professor of sociology at the University of Chicago.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:352 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.1 inPublished:August 2, 2016Publisher:University of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022637081X

ISBN - 13:9780226370811

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“Stuart straddles the gap between academic rigor and reader engagement with this impressive urban ethnography. He not only tells the everyday story of the urban poor of LA’s Skid Row, he also tells the ideological story of the men and women who police them. This important book represents a detailed and nuanced account of urban policing in a cultural and political environment where the debate has mostly become stagnant and binary. The author maintains an impressively balanced and objective approach throughout the narrative. In addition to fascinating insights into life on Skid Row, Stuart provides an engaging example of ethnographic research, including an approachable methodological appendix. An excellent addition to library collections on social problems, policing, or research methods. Highly recommended.”