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May 19, 2010

"Why Care About Mass Incarceration?"

The question in the title of this post is the title of this book review by James Forman, Jr. recently published by the Michigan Law Review.  The piece reviews Paul Butler's recent work, Let's Get Free: A Hip-Hop Theory of Justice.  Here is an excerpt from early in the review:

Paul Butler’s arrest and prosecution transformed his thinking about crime and punishment, and Let’s Get Free is his effort to cajole the nation into a similar transformation. He wants America to incarcerate fewer people, and almost no drug offenders.  He explains why juries should consider nullifying in nonviolent cases and why prosecutors should rely less on informant testimony. In a chapter that should be required reading for every student considering a career in criminal law, he provocatively claims that no one who cares about justice should become a prosecutor (Chapter Six). And he argues that his proposals should be adopted because they will make all of us — including the law-abiding majority — better off.

This assertion — that punitive crime policy hurts not just criminals but the rest of us — is the heart of Let’s Get Free. Butler’s argument is fresh, provocative, and worth our attention.

May 19, 2010 at 11:00 AM | Permalink

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Why care about mass incarceration? Because it's the product of a voracious, tyrannical system that jeopardizes the essence of what it means to be an American citizen: not having to fear your own government.

Posted by: John K | May 20, 2010 10:55:33 PM

I AM A WIFE AND A MOTHER OF DRUG ADDICTS MY HUSBAND IS A RECOVERING HERION ADDICTS THAT HAS SERVED HIS TIME. MY SON IS ABOUT TO BEGIN A 12YEAR FEDERAL DRUG SENTENCE FOR LESS THAN A GRAM OF HERION HE IS A HERION ADDICT WHO SINCE EARLY CHILDHOOD HAS SUFFERED FROM ADHD AND DEPRESSION I TRIED SEVERAL ATTEMPTS TO GET HIM THE HELP HE NEEDED AS A CHILD THEY DIAGNOSED HIM WITH SEIZURE DISORDER AND MEDICATION HIM WHICH LED TO HIS LEARNING DISABILITIES. HE EXHIBTED SCHIZOPHRENIA EARLY TEENS 15YRS. OLD HE HAS BEEN IN AND OUT OF JAIL SINCE 17YRS OLD I PLEADED WITH THE JUDGE TO HELP HIM BUT HE RECEIVED A MANDATORY YEAR IN HOUSE OF CORRECTION THAT WAS THE BEGINNING OF THE END HIS MENTAL ILLNESS ESCALATED AND WHEN THEY RELEASED HIM WITHOUT SKILLS, MEDICATATION AND A PARNOID EPISODE HE STARTED TO SELF MEDICATE HE IS NOW 32YEARS OLD SPENT MOST OF HIS ADULT LIFE IN PRISON AND IS ABOUT TO SPEND THE NEXT 12YRS ON A FEDERAL CONSPIRCY CHARGE FOR LESS THAN A GRAM WE AS A FAMILY HAVE NERVER DERIVED ANY PROCEEDS FROM HERION ADDICTION I NEVER USED DRUGS HIS FATHER DID AND INFECTED ME WITH HIV THE ONLY THING THAT OUR FAMILY DEALS WITH DAILY IS THE GUILT, SHAME,STIGMA AND DEVASTATION OF DRUG ADDICTION. I BELIEVE THIS WOULD OF HAD A DIFFERENT ENDING IF ONLY THE SYSTEM WOULD OF GIVEN ME SOME RESPECT AND LISTEN TO A MOTHER WHO KNOWS WHAT IT IS TO LIVE IN THE LIFE OF A SCHIZOPHRENIA NIGHTMARE THANK YOU FOR LETTING ME VENT

Posted by: christine peters | Jul 25, 2010 4:56:52 PM

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