« "Designed to Fail: The President's Deference to the Department of Justice in Advancing Criminal Justice Reform" | Main | Reflecting on decreasing death sentences and increasing life sentences »

May 7, 2017

Notable new Atlantic series "on efforts across the United States to move beyond the age of mass incarceration"

JusticeBUG_1As announced via this article a few day ago, headlined "Imagining the Presence of Justice," there is a notable new project from The Atlantic which aspires "to cover the evolution of criminal justice in America with a heightened focus on the different systems and approaches developing all over the nation." Here is more on how The Atlantic sets ups its plans followed by links to three early notable pieces in the series:

Over the past several decades, America has seen a startling divergence between crime and punishment.  While crime rates dropped steadily from the dramatic peaks of the 1990s, the nation’s incarceration rates continued just as steadily to grow.  And so, despite containing only 5 percent of the world’s population, the United States came to hold a quarter of the world’s prisoners.

We’ve covered this divergence extensively in the print and digital pages of The Atlantic, from Ta-Nehisi Coates’s landmark story on the rise of the carceral state and the devastation it wreaked on black families to Inimai Chettiar’s exploration of the many causes of the decline in crime.  Among the findings that emerge most clearly from this robust, sad literature is that the factors driving both aspects of the divergence — the fall in crime, the increasing spread of punishment — are highly complex.  Despite dawning awareness of the deep social and economic costs of mass incarceration, no one-size-fits-all solution exists to change this picture.  Rolling back mass incarceration while protecting public safety will require a legion of efforts in thousands of prosecutors’ offices, police departments, parole boards, and legislative chambers.  "What we have is not a system at all,” as Fordham University’s John Pfaff told The Atlantic's Matt Ford, "but a patchwork of competing bureaucracies with different constituencies, different incentives, who oftentimes might have similar political ideologies, but very different goals and very different pressures on them.”...

In collaboration with reporters across the country, we’ll highlight local initiatives that merit national attention, and talk with experts about where and how lessons from states and municipalities can be applied more broadly.  We’ll look at where the carceral state has spread beyond merely responding to crime, examine the time people spend behind bars without having been convicted, and explore how cities can depend on police to collect fines and fees from their poorest residents to make up for too little tax revenue.

The title of the project comes from Martin Luther King Jr., who included the phrase in his famous letter from Birmingham jail.  That context is worth understanding for the challenge the letter poses to us today, as America struggles to reconcile the need for public safety with the moral imperative of justice....  From his cell, King wrote the famous letter that would cleave the nation’s understanding of “law and order” right in half, arguing that the observance of an unjust law violates the moral order.  "An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law,” he wrote.  He castigated "the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order' than to justice; who prefers a negative peace, which is the absence of tension, to a positive peace, which is the presence of justice."

Three (somewhat sentencing-related) piece from the series:

May 7, 2017 at 01:00 PM | Permalink


More crap, pro-criminal, lying propaganda. We have had a 3% decarceration, and an immediately resulting 15% jump in murders in 20 cities.

Again with the lawyer falsehood that crime is low. Who writes the law school curriculum, Joseph Goebbels?

"The relatively low crime rates America has experienced over the past few years, seen against the backdrop of the sprawling carceral state and the constant tally of traumatic and often fatal encounters with police, constitute at best a negative peace."

The police is under orders to throw crime reports in the trash, and millions of crimes are not even in the official list of crimes, despite their devastating effects, identity theft, child trafficking, terrorism, thousands of murders by DUI drivers, a massive rape epidemic propelled by Tinder and other social media. The Supreme Court decriminalized butt fucking, even that practice has resulted in the mass slaughter of 40 million people around the world.

Then,if the police does make any effort, they are crushed by false witch hunts by federal lawyers, prosecution, massive, ruinous department investigation, and crushingconsent decrees. Departments across the nation, read these and get the message without having to go through the Inquisition. So, they lay back, and only answer 911 calls, take all day to type reports, and avoid lawyer flaying.

The chance of prosecution under this failed criminal justice system is infinitesimally small. That is true of all serious crimes. It is becoming true of murder, which used to have a 60% prosecution rate. It has dropped to 30% and even lower in cities other than Chicago.

Welcome to Honduras, thanks to the lawyer run criminal law system. How much does it have to fail and suck before the public gets tired of it, again? Welcome to 1990, thanks to the lying lawyer propaganda.

Posted by: David Behar | May 7, 2017 3:38:18 PM

We are not even talking about these billions of crimes going on.


Posted by: David Behar | May 8, 2017 9:19:15 PM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB