Wednesday, April 05, 2017

"Locked In", by John F. Pfaff

This book was reviewed in the most recent New Yorker and it seems to be important, at least directionally on the scale of last year's "Evicted".  The book has not yet been read here but Adam Gopnik's critique of this book about mass incarceration is compelling on its own.

To quote Gopnik, "So what makes for the madness of American incarceration?  If it isn't crazy drug laws or outrageous sentences or profit-seeking prison keepers, what is it?" (All of those are important but the Gopnik quote continues)  "Pfaff has a simple explanation:  it's prosecutors.  They are political creatures, who get political rewards for locking people up and have almost unlimited power to do it."

Whether reading local news here or from my hometown, I am often astonished by the convictions and more so by the sentences.  The premise of "Locked In" was understood intuitively, but to some extent subconsciously.  The book addresses this important issue explicitly, while still commenting on the many surrounding problems.


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