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 … More >
To considerable embarrassment, no doubt, in the Brown-Beard administration, admissions to California’s newest prison near Stockton California were halted Feb. 5 by the court-appointed healthcare receiver, law professor Clark Kelso.
The prison, the first new facility in a decade, is the lynch-pin of the administration’s frequent claim to have gotten on … More >
Zombies are everywhere. Ok not (yet) on the streets (so far as I know); but in our cultural imaginary they are everywhere. You can find them (in small groups and hordes) in high budget nail biting thriller movies like Brad Pitt’s World War Z (2013), on television, and all over print and … More >
Thanks to the persistence of my wife who has insisted for some time that as residents of the East Bay we must see it in the theater along with fellow East Bayers, our whole family saw this remarkable film a couple of weeks ago. The film moved me to tears … More >
The most important political storm in recent history (was it the storm or the meme?), “Super-Storm Sandy” helped not only President Obama but to re-raise the question of whether unusual weather is a sign of profound climate change, in this case global average temperature rises caused by human carbon effects.
When … More >
It is hard to say whether they are the worst crimes. They are the crimes that horrify the most. A baby-sitter, for no apparent reason, strangles the 15 month old child she has been hired to protect. A professional thief shoots a young police officer in his face, while the … More >
Getting people around my age, late boomers who grew up in the “fear years” of the 1970s, to rethink their assumptions about prisons, crime and criminal justice is hard; and it keeps us locked into mass incarceration. Consider SF Chron Columnist Chip Johnson’s broadside at the Occupy Movement in the … More >
“But every society has a poor storm that wretches suffer in, and the attitude is always the same: either that the wretches, already dehumanized by their suffering, deserve no pity or that the oppressed, overwhelmed by injustice, will have to wait for a better world. At every moment, the injustice … More >
Yesterday Berkeley’s College Republicans were generating big crowds on Sproul Plaza and big media coverage with a retread of an old bit of anti-affirmative action agit-prop; a cupcake sale in which prices were set by race (just like academic “preferences” for students of color in admissions, … More >