Media Archive

Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America

James Forman, Jr.
In conversation with Robin D.G. Kelley
November 29, 2017

Why has our society become so punitive? In recent years, critics have assailed the rise of mass incarceration, emphasizing its disproportionate impact on people of color. However, many African American leaders in the nation’s urban centers supported the war on crime that began in the 1970s. James Forman, Jr., a professor of law at Yale Law School and former D.C. public defender, wrestles with the complexities of race and the criminal justice system in his new book, Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America. Chronicling riveting stories of politicians, community activists, police officers, defendants, and crime victims, Forman illustrates with great compassion how racism plagues our current system of tough-on-crime measures. In an eye-opening conversation with Gary B. Nash Professor of American History at UCLA Robin D.G. Kelley, Forman shines a light on the urgent debate over the future of America’s criminal justice system.

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