Abstract

This article explores the phenomenon of “carceral accuracy” in order to index how minoritarian participation into state antiviolence measures continues to reproduce and prioritize social scientific, criminological, and quantitative data-driven efforts to rationalize crime and punishment as a necessity for disrupting bias-motivated violence. In Los Angeles from 2014 to 2015, in the span of just five months the premature and violent deaths of three transgender women of color would exacerbate longstanding political rifts in the trans and queer community. These rifts formed along the lines of either divestment or reinvestment in criminal policy and legislation via a call for prosecution of “anti-trans hate crimes.” Considering that over the last four decades Los Angeles has been lauded for its progressive LGBT policies and inclusive policing reforms, this article traces how trans and queer community safety agendas have become so easily conflated with policing and imprisonment technologies that presume to speculate, track, manage, and inoculate social risk. Focusing on examples such as former LAPD (Los Angeles Police Department) Chief Charlie Beck's 2012 LGBT Police Forum proclamation of a “transgender progressive paramilitarism” to the LAPD's 2015 “Transgender Walk of Remembrance,” these instances of “trans inclusive” pro-policing efforts demonstrate how antiviolence coalitions remain tied to carceral outcomes by way of routinized and compulsory participation in criminological discourse and technologies cloaked in the rhetoric of public safety. In conclusion, this article asks how carceral coalitions are maintained through law enforcement agencies’ control of select community partnerships that prioritize how we count crime and who is represented in crime data. Carceral accuracy thus wrestles with the shared cultural preoccupation with upholding a mythos that “cold calculations,” such as the counting of trans deaths, can provide any relief or disruption to anti-trans violence. In the end, what remains unshakeable in the wake of such violence is a heteropatriarchal and white supremacist possessive investment in improving criminal data.

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