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Abandoning a failed penal experiment: New York’s historic advantage

Jonathan Simon, professor of law | March 4, 2014

The State of New York has made it share of bad penal policy choices. Remember the “Rockefeller Drug Laws” — mandatory life sentences for persons arrested with large quantities of dangerous drugs, which helped set the nation on the path toward indiscriminate use of incarceration? But the Empire State has also had a historic knack … Continue reading »

The NY Times’ flawed series on New Jersey’s halfway houses

Jonathan Simon, professor of law | June 26, 2012

I’ve finished reading New York Times reporter Sam Dolnick’s important investigative report on New Jersey’s burgeoning system of half way houses, Unlocked — and I’m still more impressed with the power of traditional media ways of representing crime and criminal justice than I am with the power of its investigating or reporting. On the later … Continue reading »

Attica, forty years on

Jonathan Simon, professor of law | September 12, 2011

On the editorial pages of the NYTimes, historian Heather Thompson reminds us all of how profoundly the Attica prison uprising and its violent suppression, 40 years ago, shaped our penal imagination and prepared the grounds for what we now call “mass incarceration.”(read it here) The prisoners who took nine correctional officers hostage and gained control … Continue reading »