Brett C. Burkhardt

Oregon State University
Sociology

400E Bexell Hall
Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR
USA
97331
brett.burkhardt@oregonstate.edu |  Visit Personal Website


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I am currently conducting research on punishment, race, and privatization in the United States. I have previously written on topics including felon voting rights policies, labor market consequences of felony convictions, and policing.

Citation:
Burkhardt, Brett C. and Alisha Jones. 2015. "Judicial Intervention into Prisons: Comparing Private and Public Prisons from 1990 to 2005." Justice System Journal.
URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/6B9s7hUEyi8rbrpeJv48/full
Citation:
Burkhardt, Brett C. Forthcoming. “Where Have All the (White and Hispanic) Inmates Gone? Comparing the Racial Composition of Private and Public Adult Correctional Facilities.” Race and Justice.
Abstract: A great deal of research has documented racial disparities in imprisonment rates in the United States, but little work has been done to understand the process by which inmates are assigned to individual correctional facilities. This article extends research on racial disparities in imprisonment rates to consider racial disparities in inmate populations across prisons. Specifically, it examines the racial pattern of inmate placement in privately operated and publicly operated correctional facilities. Analysis of American adult correctional facilities reveals that, in 2005, White inmates were significantly underrepresented (and Hispanic inmates overrepresented) in private correctional facilities relative to public ones. Results from multilevel models show that being privately operated (as opposed to publicly operated) decreased the White share of a facility’s population by more than eight percentage points and increased the Hispanic share of a facility’s population by nearly two percentage points, net of facility- and state-level controls. These findings raise legal questions about equal protection of inmates and economic questions about the reliance of private correctional firms on Hispanic inmates.
URL: http://raj.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/07/11/2153368714539355.abstract
DOI: 10.1177/2153368714539355
Citation:
Akins, Scott, Brett C. Burkhardt, and Charles Lanfear. 2014. "Law Enforcement Response to `Frequent Fliers': An Examination of High-Frequency Contacts between Police and Justice-Involved Persons with Mental Illness." Criminal Justice Policy Review.
URL: http://cjp.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/11/28/0887403414559268.full.pdf?ijkey=JKJLB39JSnMUBzl&keytype=finite
DOI: 10.1177/0887403414559268
Citation:
Burkhardt, Brett C., Scott Akins, Jon Sassaman, Scott Jackson, Ken Elwer, Charles Lanfear, Mariana Amorim, and Katelyn Stevens. 2015. "University Researcher and Law Enforcement Collaboration: Lessons from a Study of Justice-Involved Persons with Suspected Mental Illness." International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology.
URL: http://ijo.sagepub.com/content/early/2015/08/06/0306624X15599393.full.pdf?ijkey=zwglZOeW7BRNMFQ&keytype=finite
DOI: 10.1177/0306624X15599393
Citation:
Burkhardt, Brett C. and Brian Connor. 2015. "Durkheim, Punishment, and Prison Privatization." Social Currents.
URL: http://scu.sagepub.com/content/early/2015/09/11/2329496515604641.full.pdf+html
DOI: 10.1177/2329496515604641
Citation:
Burkhardt, Brett C. 2014. “Private Prisons in Public Discourse: Measuring Moral Legitimacy.” Sociological Focus 47(4):279–98.
Abstract: New policies require legitimacy to survive. Prison privatization represents a policy challenged by initial perceptions of illegitimacy. In the 1980s, governments began to allow private firms to run correctional facilities, shifting an inherently coercive, traditionally governmental function—incarceration—to the private sector. With data from 706 articles in four major American newspapers spanning 24 years, this research uses Freudenburg and Alario’s concept of diversionary reframing to measure and track the moral legitimacy of prison privatization across time and place. Findings suggest that initially high levels of moral legitimacy facilitated some states’ adoption of private prisons, while initially low levels of moral legitimacy stunted the growth of privatization in other states. This study presents a novel way of measuring moral legitimacy, demonstrates how the concept may be used to help explain controversial public policy changes, and documents the cultural content of private prison debates in the United States.
URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/bBbc8SVT8bpDFHa44F6K/full
Citation:
Heinrich, Carolyn J., Brett C. Burkhardt, and Hilary M. Shager. 2011. “Reducing Child Support Debt and Its Consequences: Can Forgiveness Benefit All?” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 30(4):755–774.
Abstract: As child support debt owed nationally persists at enormous levels, both noncustodial parents and the custodial families who are not receiving support suffer significant hardships, and states are forced to expend greater resources on collection and enforcement efforts. This paper presents findings from an evaluation of a demonstration program developed to help noncustodial parents with large child support debts reduce their debt while simultaneously increasing child support paid to families, through gradual forgiveness of arrears conditional on payment of current child support obligations. The evaluation employs a randomized experimental design, nonexperimental analyses using propensity score matching and multilevel modeling techniques, and focus groups and follow-up interviews. Results show a pattern of effects that suggests individuals responded to the program as intended. State- and family-owed child support debt balances decreased for program participants, and participants paid more toward their child support obligations and arrears and made more frequent child support payments. The study findings suggest promise for the effectiveness of this program model in reducing child support debt burdens and in increasing families' receipt of child support, and they also point to ways in which the implementation of the program might be improved.
URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/pam.20599/abstract
Citation:
Burkhardt, Brett C. 2011. “Ideology over Strategy: Extending Voting Rights to Felons and Ex-felons, 1966–1992.” The Social Science Journal 48(2):356–363.
Abstract: The disenfranchisement of felons and ex-felons has long served to restrict the practice of democracy in the United States. In the late 20th century, a number of states allowed increasing numbers of felons and ex-felons to vote. Previous work has noted that Democrats are often associated with extensions of voting rights to felons and ex-felons. If this is the case, what accounts for their support for re-enfranchisement? In this paper I conduct a series of event history analyses of voting rights policy changes at the state level. I argue that Democratic support was not based on expected electoral benefits that might derive from changes in the composition of the electorate. Instead, analyses suggest that would-be reformers—often Democratic, but also Republican—were importantly constrained by the ideological climate among a state's population. Thus, policy liberalism appears to have trumped crass partisan strategizing in encouraging restoration of voting rights to felons and ex-felons. Results also confirm claims that local patterns of racial domination were relevant in decisions to re-enfranchise or not.
URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0362331910001011
Citation:
Burkhardt, Brett. C. 2009. "Criminal Punishment, Labor Market Outcomes, and Economic Inequality: Devah Pager’s Marked: Race, Crime, and Finding Work in an Era of Mass Incarceration." Law & Social Inquiry, 34(4):1039-1060.
Abstract: A growing empirical literature examines the role of incarceration in labor market outcomes and economic inequality more broadly. Devah Pager's book, Marked: Race, Crime, and Finding Work in an Era of Mass Incarceration (2007), offers compelling evidence that employment opportunities for former prisoners—especially black former prisoners—are bleak. I review Pager's methods and findings, place them in the context of previous work, and discuss the relation of race to a criminal record. I then explore several lines of related research that investigate the increasing reach of criminal punishment into various social realms. One goal of this essay is to draw research on economic inequality into the law and society literature.
URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1747-4469.2009.01172.x/abstract

Substantive Focus:
Law and Policy PRIMARY
Social Policy SECONDARY

Theoretical Focus:
Agenda-Setting, Adoption, and Implementation PRIMARY
Policy Analysis and Evaluation SECONDARY
Public Opinion

Keywords

LAW CRIME CRIMINAL JUSTICE STATE POLITICS PUNISHMENT