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March 3, 2008

A fascinating new blog to watch

Fans of the thoughtful criminal justice writings of Professor Bill Stuntz will want to check out his new blog, Less Than The Least (which is co-authored by David Skeel).  Here is the blog's notable introduction:

We are both law professors and evangelical Protestants — a weird combination in our time. We hope it’s also an interesting combination. We plan to write about the things that interest us, professionally and personally: crime and criminal justice (Stuntz), corporate governance, credit, and bankruptcy (Skeel), the culture wars, politics, literature and the arts, and other topics.

I always learn so much from Stuntz's articles, though I find most of them a bit too long.  I am very excited to see him now working in a short-form medium.  And this post connecting dots between Michelle Obama and mass incarceration highlights why I am sure I will be linking frequently to this new endeavor:

The last generation, the generation that saw the rise of legally protected civil rights for African Americans, also saw the rise of mass imprisonment of African Americans.  Today, of every 100,000 white men, 471 sleep in prison beds — a record-high number, many times the comparable figure elsewhere in the Western world. Among black men, the analogous number is 3,145. (For the numbers, click here).  Mass imprisonment is the defining fact of life in many black neighborhoods in the United States.  It would hardly surprise if that fact shaped the attitudes black men and women have toward a country that imprisons so many of their fathers and sons, brothers and friends.

I’m a middle-aged white guy and a Republican to boot; I have no special insight here.  But would it really be that surprising if a large fraction of black professionals look at our legal and political systems with a jaundiced eye, given the truly mind-boggling levels of black incarceration we’ve seen over the last twenty years?  Something tells me there are an awful lot of people who, when they read or heard Michelle Obama’s words, thought: she read my mind.

March 3, 2008 at 01:04 AM | Permalink

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