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Governing through crime wave strikes UK

Jonathan Simon, professor of law | June 25, 2011

Rates of crime reported to the police in the UK appear stable, maintaining a long term downward trend of over a decade. The politics of crime however is very much on the rise in England and and from where I write in Edinburgh (ironically, Northern Ireland, where sectarian rioting took place this week, crime policy … Continue reading »

California needs a committee for the prevention of torture

Jonathan Simon, professor of law | June 8, 2011

It was the pictures that did it. When the Supreme Court was compelled to look at pictures of the refugee camp like chaos and overcrowding in California’s supposedly secure prisons, and the “dry cells”, i.e., vertical cages in which mentally ill and suicidal prisoners are locked up for weeks and months because no treatment beds … Continue reading »

Monsters on the block

Jonathan Simon, professor of law | May 17, 2011

Attack the Block is taut, scary, funny and ultimately insightful movie that just opened here about crime and fear of crime in a south London council estate. Sam, a young female nursing student, attractive and white, is mugged by a gang of juveniles led by an aggressive and large black teenager, Moses. Most of the … Continue reading »

A new medical model

Jonathan Simon, professor of law | May 11, 2011

While there is a great deal of work to be done in extricating American states from mass incarceration and in clearing the social and individual wreckage it has created, in another sense it is over. Lou Reed would say, “stick a fork in it and turn it over, its done.” In California Governor Schwarzenegger acknowledged … Continue reading »

Revenge, retribution, justice: killing Osama bin Laden

Jonathan Simon, professor of law | May 4, 2011

President Obama said “justice has been done.” Many headlines were more direct. “Revenge” was the headline in the Scotsman, here in Edinburgh, while the the New York Daily News went right for “Rot in Hell you Bastard.” Whatever our emotions on learning the news, the killing of Osama bin Laden by a Navy Seals “kill” … Continue reading »

Back on prisoner voting and dignity

Jonathan Simon, professor of law | March 21, 2011

I’m still pondering the prisoner voting controversy over here (see my last post). At first I thought it was a rather trivial issue, at least to one who is primarily concerned with mass incarceration and the deplorable conditions in many prisons in the US. After all many states of the United States strip prisoners of … Continue reading »

Proud to be from Illinois: Land of Lincoln becomes 16th state to abolish capital punishment

Jonathan Simon, professor of law | March 11, 2011

Illinois has just became the 16th state to ban capital punishment: Governor Pat Quinn, a recently elected Democrat, signed into a law a bill abolishing capital punishment passed by the Illinois legislature several weeks ago (read John Schwartz and Emma Fitzsimmons reporting in the NYTimes here). Governor Quinn’s statement highlighted the “new abolitionism” themes that … Continue reading »

The Crying Game: The Mehserle trial starts in L.A.

Jonathan Simon, professor of law | June 14, 2010

The opening of the murder trial of Johannes Mehserle on June 10 in Los Angeles once again brings the issues of race, criminality, and police violence back to the foreground where they have so often been in Los Angeles and Oakland, the city where Mehserle admittedly shot Oscar Grant on the platform adjoining a BART … Continue reading »