Monday, May 15, 2017

Criminal Justice Reform and Crime in Black Communities

In spite of everything that Jeff Sessions is doing to stand in the way, reform of our criminal justice system is perhaps one of the most important issues of our time. It’s even one that sometimes gets bipartisan support. But reform is of very little value without a real understanding of how we got here and how the current system has ruined so many lives.

How did our policies, with respect to policing in black neighborhoods, evolve since the high crimes periods of the mid 70’s and 80’s? What role did public policy play, and what role did community demands and expectations play? How has the war on drugs played a part in this, and what is the real nexus with the civil rights movement of the 60’s?

Unless we understand this history we are not only condemned to repeat it, but we can never begin to address it.

Yale Law Professor James Forman, Jr. gives us one of the sharpest, most cleared and honest analysis of these issues in his new book Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America

My conversation with James Forman, Jr.