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Locking up our own : crime and punishment in black America

Author: James Forman
Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018. ©2017
Edition/Format:   Print book : English : First paperback editionView all editions and formats
Summary:
"Critics of America's criminal justice system have assailed the rise of mass incarceration, emphasizing its disproportionate impact on people of color. As James Forman Jr. points out, however, the war on crime that began in the 1970s was supported by many African American leaders. In this book, he seeks to understand why. Forman describes how the first substantial cohort of black mayors, judges, and police chiefs
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Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: James Forman
ISBN: 9780374537449 0374537445
OCLC Number: 1021856753
Awards: Pulitzer Prize Winner, General Nonfiction, 2018.
Description: 306 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Contents: Introduction --
Part I: Origins. Gateway to the war on drugs : marijuana, 1975 ; Black lives matter : gun control, 1975 ; Representatives of their race : the rise of African American police, 1948-78 --
Part II: Consequences. "Locking up thugs is not vindictive" : sentencing, 1981-82 ; "The worst thing to hit us since slavery" : crack and the advent of warrior policing, 1988-92 ; What would Martin Luther King, Jr., say? : stop and search, 1995 --
Epilogue: The reach of our mercy, 2014-16.
Responsibility: James Forman Jr.

Abstract:

"Critics of America's criminal justice system have assailed the rise of mass incarceration, emphasizing its disproportionate impact on people of color. As James Forman Jr. points out, however, the war on crime that began in the 1970s was supported by many African American leaders. In this book, he seeks to understand why. Forman describes how the first substantial cohort of black mayors, judges, and police chiefs took office amid a surge in crime and drug addiction--and thus embraced tough-on-crime measures that would have unforeseen but devastating consequences for residents of poor black neighborhoods. He tells stories of politicians, community activists, police officers, defendants, and crime victims--individuals trapped in terrible dilemmas."--Book cover.

"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."--

"Recounts the tragic role that some African Americans--as judges, prosecutors, politicians, police officers, and voters--played in escalating the war on crime"--

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