Noah Wagner

Noah Wagner

2017 Undergraduate Fellow
Social Studies

Thesis title and description:

"Another Tool on the Tool Belt?: Social Movement Faction and Cooptation in New York City Restorative Justice Organizations”

In light of decades of tough-on-crime policing and incarceration policies that continue to drive the rise of racialized mass incarceration, many scholars argue that a new paradigm for addressing social harm is needed. Some point to restorative justice, an approach to crime that seeks to redress harm and bring those responsible back into alignment with community norms through mediated dialogue and community-led accountability processes, as a vital alternative. Yet there is significant debate about restorative justice's transformative potential for the criminal justice system: while some organizations and activists take restorative justice as offering philosophical and processual resources for dismantling the carceral state, restorative justice has also been integrated into courts, police departments, and prisons themselves. For my thesis, I will perform ethnographic research focused on three institutions in New York City that practice restorative justice work––a prison abolitionist organization, a courts-based diversion program, and a prison––in order to understand how these institutional actors differently conceive of restorative justice work and its relationship to the carceral state.