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The problem with prisons in America

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The problem with prisons in America


"NO COUNTRY imprisons a larger share of its people than America. Its incarceration rate—693 of every 100,000—is nearly five times Britain’s, six times Canada’s and 15 times Japan’s. And that rate masks huge variations: Washington, DC, Louisiana and Georgia each lock up more than one in every 100 residents. Why?

“Blind Injustice” tries to answer that complex question from an unusual perspective. The author, Mark Godsey, used to be a federal prosecutor in New York. He went on to co-found the Ohio Innocence Project, which works to free the wrongly convicted. His book is about how his career change also changed his outlook, by showing up “problems in the system that I, as a prosecutor, should have seen, but about which I had simply been in denial”.

And it is about the police and prosecutors who uphold that system—the “normal, regular people…who would help an old man cross the road, or who would shovel the snow from a sick neighbour’s driveway, [but who] go back to their offices and commit acts of heartbreaking, callous injustice…because they are operating under a bureaucratic fog of denial.” Each of Mr Godsey’s six central chapters centres on a different systemic flaw: denial, ambition, bias, memory, intuition and tunnel vision..."


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