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Locking Up Our Own : Crime and Punishment in Black America
by Jr. James Forman


Overview -

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.  Read more...


 
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More About Locking Up Our Own by Jr. James Forman
 
 
 
Overview

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."

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780374189976
  • ISBN-10: 0374189978
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publish Date: April 2017
  • Page Count: 320
  • Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.15 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Social Science > Ethnic Studies - African American Studies - General
Books > Social Science > Criminology
Books > Political Science > Law Enforcement

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2017-01-09
  • Reviewer: Staff

Drawing on a varied CV (public defender, Supreme Court clerk, charter school cofounder, Yale law professor), Forman addresses a tangled and thorny issuethe part played by African-Americans in shaping criminal justice policy. A complex picture emerges, focused on Washington, D.C., as black inner-city residents are hurt both by over- and under-policing and as effective enforcement and fairer treatment of minorities come to seem incompatible to policymakers. Forman delineates the ravaging effects of cures with boomerang consequencesfrom vigorous prosecutions of relatively minor offenses that cut offenders off from public benefits, to black anti-drug activism that enables more punitive policing, to mandatory sentencing policies that prove unequally implemented. With regard to public policy, Formans attentiveness to class divisions in the black community (for example, the middle-class desire for increased numbers of black policemen, as opposed to the working-class goal of simply accessing new avenues of employment) offers an exemplary perspective. The book achieves genuine immediacy, due not only to the topical subject, but also to Formans personal experiences within the legal system. Possibly controversial, undoubtedly argumentative, Formans survey offers a refreshing breath of fresh air on the crisis in American policing. Agent: David McCormick, McCormick Literary. (Apr.)

 
BAM Customer Reviews