Ji Seon Song: “Patient or Prisoner”

  • Assistant Professor of Law at the University of California, Irvine School of Law
Location: UT Law School, Sheffield-Massey Room (TNH 2.111)

Abstract: At a time when policing and medicine are colliding in the post-Dobbs landscape, the extent of hospital’s participation in policing and punishment merits attention. This talk argues that hospitals in the “free world” have become part of the carceral infrastructure. They perform functions essential to the operations of mass incarceration by identifying criminals, helping build criminal cases, preparing people for incarceration, and treating and returning people to imprisonment. Carceral authorities alter the complex, structured, and regulated hospital workplace by their immense formal and informal powers. This talk identifies this deference to and incorporation of carceral rules and practices as an expansion of the modalities of policing and custodial practices, pointing in part to the ways that hospitals perpetuate problems of mass incarceration, such as racial subordination and loyalty to carceral logics of “public safety.”

Ji Seon Song is Assistant Professor of Law at the University of California, Irvine School of Law. Professor Song’s teaching and research focuses on criminal law, criminal procedure, and policing, while her scholarship examines the deployment of policing authority and corresponding effects on racial minority and other marginalized groups. Her research informs interventions that address race- and class-based disparities in policing practices. Song is author of “Patient or Prisoner,” (forthcoming by Georgetown Law Review) and “Policing in the Emergency Room” (Harvard Law Review, 2021). She is also co-author of “Law Enforcement and Patient Privacy Among Survivors of Violence: A Nationwide Mixed-Methods Study” (Journal of Surgical Research, 2022). Song regularly conducts trainings and provides consultation for medical providers on the intersection of medical care and policing. She is also a well-known advocate for local, regional, and national juvenile justice reform. Professor Song received a J.D. from Columbia University School of Law, an LL.M. from Georgetown University Law Center, and a B.A. from Columbia College, Columbia University.


  • Snehal Patel Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Dell Medical School
Event series: Sissy Farenthold Reproductive Justice Defense Project, Sissy Farenthold Fund for Peace and Social Justice, Colloquia, Reproductive Justice, Criminal Law, and the Carceral State