From the perspective of tens of thousands of protesters around the nation this week, the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. and Eric Garner in Staten Island reflected an unfathomable decision by white police officers to kill unarmed black men engaged in trivial criminal (if any) behavior. To thousands of … 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 >
There should be a difference between prosecution and persecution.
The long “War on Crime,” America’s longest, has gone on a lot longer (’67 to now), and done a lot more damage to American law and society, than most people reckon (at least those who missed my 2007 tome, Governing through Crime: … More >
Any reader of the paper of record will be impressed with the series of impressive features dealing with various aspects of county level justice in the five boroughs that make up New York City. While not all of them have cast their gaze backwards (for instance the superb recent series on delay … More >
It’s more than just an echo of the Obama’s 2008 campaign. The California ballot in 2012 will carry two measures aimed directly at the heart of the state’s fear-based political culture and the massive penal system it has spawned.
The first, which was formally certified for the November election on Monday … 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 >
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 … More >
In case anyone has been hiking in desert for the month of January, we are the midst of a wave of frightening murders and attempted murders, including the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Gifford in Tucson, and in the same incident the murder of a federal judge … More >