Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America
Winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction
Forman shows us that the first substantial cohort of black mayors, judges, and police chiefs took office amid a surge in crime and drug addiction. Many prominent black officials, including Washington, D.C. mayor Marion Barry and federal prosecutor Eric Holder, feared that the gains of the civil rights movement were being undermined by lawlessness—and thus embraced tough-on-crime measures, including longer sentences and aggressive police tactics. In the face of skyrocketing murder rates and the proliferation of open-air drug markets, they believed they had no choice. But the policies they adopted would have devastating consequences for residents of poor black neighborhoods.
A former D.C. public defender, Forman tells riveting stories of politicians, community activists, police officers, defendants, and crime victims. He writes with compassion about individuals trapped in terrible dilemmas—from the men and women he represented in court to officials struggling to respond to a public safety emergency. Locking Up Our Own enriches our understanding of why our society became so punitive and offers important lessons to anyone concerned about the future of race and the criminal justice system in this country.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - rivkat - LibraryThing
Focusing on DC, where Forman lived and worked for a number of years, Forman tells a story that applies in many places in the US: the reasons that African-Americans supported, at least initially, harsh ... Read full review
Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black AmericaUser Review - James Forman - Publishers Weekly
Drawing on a varied CV (public defender, Supreme Court clerk, charter school cofounder, Yale law professor), Forman addresses a tangled and thorny issue—the part played by African-Americans in ... Read full review
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