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Don Moynihan @donmoyn
, 11 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
Jazmine Headley went to a welfare office to get childcare vouchers so she could take a cleaning job. With no available chairs, she sat on the floor with her 1yr old. She was told to stand, refused. Then police came, yanked child away & arrested her. 1/…
Eyewitnesses said she was not blocking any entry way, but she is charged with obstruction. She is charged with endangering her child, even though it was the security officials and police who directly put the child in danger 2/
This story made me think of @jbsoss's work abt welfare encounters. I assign it to my students, who have mostly never encountered this sort of treatment by the state. Joe's work illustrates how such experiences teach citizens lessons abt their standing 3/…
More generally, my work w @pamela_herd talks about the psychological costs that come from citizen-state encounters. Hard to measure, but it includes a loss in personal autonomy and stress, that Ms. Headley experienced. 4/…
If middle-class citizens routinely faced what this woman faced, the welfare office would change quickly. But we don't, and only occasionally gain a window into how miserable these experiences can be. Reducing such psychological costs should be a basic goal for public services. 5/
I know we tend to view such incidents through ideological lens. But it should not be a partisan point to say that poor people trying to fulfill their end of the social contract should be met with a helping hand rather than excessive state force. 6/
Lets check on how my appeal for a bipartisan understanding of this incident went. (Note to "get a job" guy: I said in the first tweet that this woman was seeking help so she could work, not that the status of job-seeker should condition whether we get treated as sub-citizens) 7/
Does not right the wrong Jazmine Headley and her baby experienced, but at least the DA showed enough common sense to drop the charges against her. 8/…
More context on the Jazmine Headley story and the role of administrative burdens: Her childcare benefits were cut off, meaning she would have had to pull her kid. Took a day off work. After a few hours was told she had to reapply. 9/
Our review of administrative burdens points to the use of phone interviews (especially outside working hours), longer renewal periods, and auto-renewal as ways to better serve people like Ms. Headley by reducing compliance costs. 10/…
Important point about welfare encounters: they occur in the shadow of state use of force. Efforts to maintain autonomy - like asking to see a supervisor - can result in police being called. In 2017, police have been called to food-stamp offices 2,212 times in NYC. 11/
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