Social Outcasts Need Not Apply: NIMBY and the Politics of Social Exclusion

Lloyd Klein, Bemidji State University
Linda B. Deutschmann, University College of the Cariboo

The intensification of Xenophobia following 9/11 and the enhanced fear of crime created a climate extending to all potentially dangeroius social groups. We have long witnessed community reluctance to embrace halfway houses and rehabilitative programs housed outside prison walls. The everpresent marginalization of offenders subsequently creates a public climate undermining rehabilitation and the reintegrationof convicted felons. This paper draws upon the Chicago School social disorganizationa pproach to develop a more contemporary ideological disorganization approiach featuring competing claims of social distrust. The critical perspectives in the resultant filtration of manufactured governmental messages endangers the future of offender service programs through a focus upon the threat of violent crime. Consequently community opposition to halfway houses, needle-exchanges, group homes, and shelters undermines the community corrections movement and creates a new class of social undesirables. This theoretical approachwill connect with a discussion of community resistance and the perpetuation of convicted offenders as members of a permanent social underclass.

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Updated 05/20/2006