I’ve been reading lots of write-ups for Law Professor Michelle Alexander’s book on the American criminal justice system, entitled The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. From what I’ve read, and heard from others in the legal community, it sounds like an amazing work. You can find the website for the book here and a NPR piece here.
The gist of the book is that our criminal justice system, and specifically the War on Drugs, locks up a disproportionate number of minorities. It not just locks them up; the system actually targets them.
I can tell you from my over a decade long term inside the system that what Ms. Alexander says is not an exaggeration. I sometimes watched whole neighborhoods of young African American men brought into the federal prison. Many of them were sentenced to over 20 years for handfuls of crack cocaine or marijuana. It is not a fair system.
I am planning to read The New Jim Crow as soon as I finish these funny books called Contracts, Torts, and Property. You too should check it out.