First off, I am so so excited to finally be releasing the first episode of Wesearch, especially because I got to interview one of my best friends as my first guest. Erin Tinney is a criminology doctoral student at the University of Maryland, and I’ve been lucky enough to have known her since elementary school.
So what is criminology? I wasn’t totally sure before I started writing this interview, but if you weren’t already aware of my obsession with learning new things, I looked it up so I could tell all of you. Criminology and Criminal Justice are super easy to confuse because they both deal with crime and law enforcement. Criminal Justice deals with the aftermath of crimes: from the investigation, all the way through taking the criminal to trial and prison. Criminology deals more with why crime happens, how to prevent them, how they impact society, and so much more.
Erin and I discuss the school to prison pipeline, bias, capital punishment, why your vote counts, and why being open to new and challenging ideas is so important.
Want to learn more? Here’s what Erin recommends:
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
13th (2016) documentary, directed by Ava DuVernay
When They See Us (2019) miniseries, directed by Ava DuVernay
Sources (aka Em how did you learn all of this?!)
Voting resources: Websites like Ballotpedia.org, rockthevote.org, politifact.com, vote411.org, issuevoter.org, and usa.gov/voter-research are incredibly helpful, non-partisan resources that can help you figure out how to register, where to vote, when to vote, and who you can vote for!
Fun fact moment: What lives inside seashells and how are they made?
Erin’s main reference for her undergrad thesis: The Academic and Behavioral Consequences of Discipline Policy Reform: Evidence from Philadelphia By Matthew P. Steinberg and Johanna Lacoe
Educational standards in the justice system: In the US, we believe that education is a right for all youth, regardless of their background; however, it isn’t guaranteed to be up to the same standards for every student. While the Department of Education has policies in place in order to create a more equitable system for public education, research done by multiple youth advocacy groups has found that students in the justice system don’t have access to the same opportunities to learn as students not in the justice system.
So are jails and prisons the same thing? Are you using the two words interchangeably here? Nope and nope.
What Department of Justice directive are you talking about? This one.
Was Erin’s take on capital punishment too spicy? Again, this was Erin’s personal take on the death penalty. However, if we use Maryland’s abolition of capital punishment as a case study, as Erin explained, there is a huge racial disparity inherit in the system, as well the fact that it costs so much more to try, house, and execute a capital case, there are many reasons why she believes that this push for capital punishment is not a good thing, besides her own moral standpoint.
If you’re a researcher and want to share your work or just very excited about learning and want to talk about it, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow along at @wesearchpod on both Instagram and Twitter, where I share updates and more fun things about the show, including some key images from this episode! For even more behind-the-scenes fun, you can support the show at patreon.com/wesearch.
Thank you to everyone who has been so excited about this show and showing me all kinds of love and encouragement while making it! I’ll hopefully be back in two weeks with a new interview and research topic to share!