Author: James Forman, Jr.
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release Date: 2017-04-18
Genre: Social Science
In recent years, America’s criminal justice system has become the subject of an increasingly urgent debate. Critics have assailed the rise of mass incarceration, emphasizing its disproportionate impact on people of color. As James Forman, Jr., points out, however, the war on crime that began in the 1970s was supported by many African American leaders in the nation’s urban centers. In Locking Up Our Own, he seeks to understand why. Forman shows us that the first substantial cohort of black mayors, judges, and police chiefs took office amid a surge in crime and drug addiction. Many prominent black officials, including Washington, D.C. mayor Marion Barry and federal prosecutor Eric Holder, feared that the gains of the civil rights movement were being undermined by lawlessness—and thus embraced tough-on-crime measures, including longer sentences and aggressive police tactics. In the face of skyrocketing murder rates and the proliferation of open-air drug markets, they believed they had no choice. But the policies they adopted would have devastating consequences for residents of poor black neighborhoods. A former D.C. public defender, Forman tells riveting stories of politicians, community activists, police officers, defendants, and crime victims. He writes with compassion about individuals trapped in terrible dilemmas—from the men and women he represented in court to officials struggling to respond to a public safety emergency. Locking Up Our Own enriches our understanding of why our society became so punitive and offers important lessons to anyone concerned about the future of race and the criminal justice system in this country.
Author: James Forman, Jr.
Release Date: 2017-04-18
Genre: Political Science
An original and consequential argument about race, crime, and the law Today, Americans are debating our criminal justice system with new urgency. Mass incarceration and aggressive police tactics—and their impact on people of color—are feeding outrage and a consensus that something must be done. But what if we only know half the story? In Locking Up Our Own, the Yale legal scholar and former public defender James Forman Jr. weighs the tragic role that some African Americans themselves played in escalating the war on crime. As Forman shows, the first substantial cohort of black mayors, judges, and police chiefs took office around the country amid a surge in crime. Many came to believe that tough measures—such as stringent drug and gun laws and “pretext traffic stops” in poor African American neighborhoods—were needed to secure a stable future for black communities. Some politicians and activists saw criminals as a “cancer” that had to be cut away from the rest of black America. Others supported harsh measures more reluctantly, believing they had no other choice in the face of a public safety emergency. Drawing on his experience as a public defender and focusing on Washington, D.C., Forman writes with compassion for individuals trapped in terrible dilemmas—from the young men and women he defended to officials struggling to cope with an impossible situation. The result is an original view of our justice system as well as a moving portrait of the human beings caught in its coils.
Author: James Forman Jr.
Release Date: 2018-10-04
Winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction Longlisted for the National Book Award One of the New York Times Book Review's 10 Best Books of 2017 Former public defender James Forman, Jr. is a leading critic of mass incarceration and its disproportionate impact on people of colour. In Locking Up Our Own, he seeks to understand the war on crime that began in the 1970s and why it was supported by many African American leaders in the nation's urban centres. Forman shows us that the first substantial cohort of black mayors, judges and police chiefs took office amid a surge in crime and drug addiction. Many prominent black officials, including Washington, DC mayor Marion Barry and federal prosecutor Eric Holder, feared that the gains of the civil rights movement were being undermined by lawlessness - and thus embraced tough-on-crime measures, including longer sentences and aggressive police tactics. In the face of skyrocketing murder rates and the proliferation of open-air drug markets, they believed they had no choice. But the policies they adopted would have devastating consequences for residents of poor black neighbourhoods. A former public defender, Forman tells riveting stories of politicians, community activists, police officers, defendants and crime victims. He writes with compassion about individuals trapped in terrible dilemmas - from the men and women he represented in court to officials struggling to respond to a public safety emergency. Locking Up Our Own enriches our understanding of why American society became so punitive and offers important lessons to anyone concerned about the future of race and the criminal justice system.
Author: Chris Hayes
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Release Date: 2017-03-21
Genre: Social Science
New York Times best-selling author and Emmy Award–winning news anchor Chris Hayes argues that there are really two Americas: a Colony and a Nation. America likes to tell itself that it inhabits a postracial world, yet nearly every empirical measure—wealth, unemployment, incarceration, school segregation—reveals that racial inequality has barely improved since 1968, when Richard Nixon became our first “law and order” president. With the clarity and originality that distinguished his prescient bestseller, Twilight of the Elites, Chris Hayes upends our national conversation on policing and democracy in a book of wide-ranging historical, social, and political analysis. Hayes contends our country has fractured in two: the Colony and the Nation. In the Nation, we venerate the law. In the Colony, we obsess over order, fear trumps civil rights, and aggressive policing resembles occupation. A Colony in a Nation explains how a country founded on justice now looks like something uncomfortably close to a police state. How and why did Americans build a system where conditions in Ferguson and West Baltimore mirror those that sparked the American Revolution? A Colony in a Nation examines the surge in crime that began in the 1960s and peaked in the 1990s, and the unprecedented decline that followed. Drawing on close-hand reporting at flashpoints of racial conflict, as well as deeply personal experiences with policing, Hayes explores cultural touchstones, from the influential “broken windows” theory to the “squeegee men” of late-1980s Manhattan, to show how fear causes us to make dangerous and unfortunate choices, both in our society and at the personal level. With great empathy, he seeks to understand the challenges of policing communities haunted by the omnipresent threat of guns. Most important, he shows that a more democratic and sympathetic justice system already exists—in a place we least suspect. A Colony in a Nation is an essential book—searing and insightful—that will reframe our thinking about law and order in the years to come.
Author: Michael Javen Fortner
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Release Date: 2015-09-07
Aggressive policing and draconian sentencing have disproportionately imprisoned millions of African Americans for drug-related offenses. Michael Javen Fortner shows that in the 1970s these punitive policies toward addicts and pushers enjoyed the support of many working-class and middle-class blacks, angry about the chaos in their own neighborhoods.
Author: Michelle Kuo
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: 2017-07-11
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
“In all of the literature addressing education, race, poverty, and criminal justice, there has been nothing quite like Reading with Patrick.”—The Atlantic A memoir of the life-changing friendship between an idealistic young teacher and her gifted student, jailed for murder in the Mississippi Delta Recently graduated from Harvard University, Michelle Kuo arrived in the rural town of Helena, Arkansas, as a Teach for America volunteer, bursting with optimism and drive. But she soon encountered the jarring realities of life in one of the poorest counties in America, still disabled by the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow. In this stirring memoir, Kuo, the child of Taiwanese immigrants, shares the story of her complicated but rewarding mentorship of one student, Patrick Browning, and his remarkable literary and personal awakening. Convinced she can make a difference in the lives of her teenaged students, Michelle Kuo puts her heart into her work, using quiet reading time and guided writing to foster a sense of self in students left behind by a broken school system. Though Michelle loses some students to truancy and even gun violence, she is inspired by some such as Patrick. Fifteen and in the eighth grade, Patrick begins to thrive under Michelle’s exacting attention. However, after two years of teaching, Michelle feels pressure from her parents and the draw of opportunities outside the Delta and leaves Arkansas to attend law school. Then, on the eve of her law-school graduation, Michelle learns that Patrick has been jailed for murder. Feeling that she left the Delta prematurely and determined to fix her mistake, Michelle returns to Helena and resumes Patrick’s education—even as he sits in a jail cell awaiting trial. Every day for the next seven months they pore over classic novels, poems, and works of history. Little by little, Patrick grows into a confident, expressive writer and a dedicated reader galvanized by the works of Frederick Douglass, James Baldwin, Walt Whitman, W. S. Merwin, and others. In her time reading with Patrick, Michelle is herself transformed, contending with the legacy of racism and the questions of what constitutes a “good” life and what the privileged owe to those with bleaker prospects. “A powerful meditation on how one person can affect the life of another . . . One of the great strengths of Reading with Patrick is its portrayal of the risk inherent to teaching.”—The Seattle Times “[A] tender memoir.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
A shocking and deeply reported account of the persistent plague of institutional racism and junk forensic science in our criminal justice system, and its devastating effect on innocent lives After two three-year-old girls were raped and murdered in rural Mississippi, law enforcement pursued and convicted two innocent men: Kennedy Brewer and Levon Brooks. Together they spent a combined thirty years in prison before finally being exonerated in 2008. Meanwhile, the real killer remained free. The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist recounts the story of how the criminal justice system allowed this to happen, and of how two men, Dr. Steven Hayne and Dr. Michael West, built successful careers on the back of that structure. For nearly two decades, Hayne, a medical examiner, performed the vast majority of Mississippi's autopsies, while his friend Dr. West, a local dentist, pitched himself as a forensic jack-of-all-trades. Together they became the go-to experts for prosecutors and helped put countless Mississippians in prison. But then some of those convictions began to fall apart. Here, Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington tell the haunting story of how the courts and Mississippi's death investigation system--a relic of the Jim Crow era--failed to deliver justice for its citizens. The authors argue that bad forensics, structural racism, and institutional failures are at fault, raising sobering questions about our ability and willingness to address these crucial issues.
Author: John Pfaff
Publisher: Basic Books
Release Date: 2017-02-07
Genre: Social Science
"Pfaff, let there be no doubt, is a reformer...Nonetheless, he believes that the standard story--popularized in particular by Michelle Alexander, in her influential book, The New Jim Crow--is false. We are desperately in need of reform, he insists, but we must reform the right things, and address the true problem."--Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker A groundbreaking examination of our system of imprisonment, revealing the true causes of mass incarceration as well as the best path to reform In the 1970s, the United States had an incarceration rate comparable to those of other liberal democracies-and that rate had held steady for over 100 years. Yet today, though the US is home to only about 5 percent of the world's population, we hold nearly one quarter of its prisoners. Mass incarceration is now widely considered one of the biggest social and political crises of our age. How did we get to this point? Locked In is a revelatory investigation into the root causes of mass incarceration by one of the most exciting scholars in the country. Having spent fifteen years studying the data on imprisonment, John Pfaff takes apart the reigning consensus created by Michelle Alexander and other reformers, revealing that the most widely accepted explanations-the failed War on Drugs, draconian sentencing laws, an increasing reliance on private prisons-tell us much less than we think. Pfaff urges us to look at other factors instead, including a major shift in prosecutor behavior that occurred in the mid-1990s, when prosecutors began bringing felony charges against arrestees about twice as often as they had before. He describes a fractured criminal justice system, in which counties don't pay for the people they send to state prisons, and in which white suburbs set law and order agendas for more-heavily minority cities. And he shows that if we hope to significantly reduce prison populations, we have no choice but to think differently about how to deal with people convicted of violent crimes-and why some people are violent in the first place. An authoritative, clear-eyed account of a national catastrophe, Locked In transforms our understanding of what ails the American system of punishment and ultimately forces us to reconsider how we can build a more equitable and humane society.
Author: James Forman
Publisher: University of Washington Press
Release Date: 1972
This eloquent and provocative autobiography, originally published in 1972, records a day by day, sometimes hour by hour, compassionate account of the events that took place in the streets, meetings, churches, jails, and in people's hearts and minds in the 1960s civil rights movement. During the 1960s James Forman served as Executive Secretary and Director of International Affairs of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He is now Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at American University in Washington, D.C., and President of the Unemployment and Poverty Action Committee. He is the author of six other books.
Author: Dennis C. Dickerson
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
Release Date: 2015-01-13
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
During the turbulent 1960s, civil rights leader Whitney M. Young Jr. devised a new and effective strategy to achieve equality for African Americans. Young blended interracial mediation with direct protest, demonstrating that these methods pursued together were the best tactics for achieving social, economic, and political change. Militant Mediator is a powerful reassessment of this key and controversial figure in the civil rights movement. It is the first biography to explore in depth the influence Young's father, a civil rights leader in Kentucky, had on his son. Dickerson traces Young's swift rise to national prominence as a leader who could bridge the concerns of deprived blacks and powerful whites and mobilize the resources of the white America to battle the poverty and discrimination at the core of racial inequality. Alone among his civil rights colleagues -- Martin Luther King Jr., Roy Wilkins, James Farmer, John Lewis, and James Forman -- Young built support from black and white constituencies. As a National Urban League official in the Midwest and as a dean of the School of Social Work at Atlanta University during the 1940s and 1950s, Young developed a strategy of mediation and put it to work on a national level upon becoming the executive director of the League in 1961. Though he worked with powerful whites, Young also drew support from middle-and working-class blacks from religious, fraternal, civil rights, and educational organizations. As he navigated this middle ground, though, Young came under fire from both black nationalists and white conservatives.
Author: Paul Butler
Publisher: The New Press
Release Date: 2010-06-08
Drawing on his personal fascinating story as a prosecutor, a defendant, and an observer of the legal process, Paul Butler offers a sharp and engaging critique of our criminal justice system. He argues against discriminatory drug laws and excessive police power and shows how our policy of mass incarceration erodes communities and perpetuates crime. Controversially, he supports jury nullification—or voting “not guilty” out of principle—as a way for everyday people to take a stand against unfair laws, and he joins with the “Stop Snitching” movement, arguing that the reliance on informants leads to shoddy police work and distrust within communities. Butler offers instead a “hip hop theory of justice,” parsing the messages about crime and punishment found in urban music and culture. Butler’s argument is powerful, edgy, and incisive.
Author: James K. Dew Jr.
Publisher: InterVarsity Press
Release Date: 2014-02-28
What does it mean to know something? Can we have confidence in our knowledge? Epistemology, the study of knowledge, can often seem like a daunting subject. And yet few topics are more basic to human life. We are inquisitive creatures by nature, and the unending quest for truth leads us to raise difficult questions about the quest itself. What are the conditions, sources and limits of our knowledge? Do our beliefs need to be rationally justified? Can we have certainty? In this primer on epistemology, James Dew and Mark Foreman guide students through this important discipline in philosophy. By asking basic questions and using clear, jargon-free language, they make provide an entry into some of the most important issues in contemporary philosophy.
Author: Franklin E. Zimring
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Release Date: 2017-02-20
Genre: Social Science
Franklin Zimring compiles data from federal records, crowdsourced research, and investigative journalism to provide a comprehensive, fact-based picture of how, when, where, and why police use deadly force. He offers prescriptions for how federal, state, and local governments could reduce killings at minimum cost without risking officers’ lives.