Our Awful Criminal Justice System
A stroll down memory lane.
Many readers took my partial defense of prosecutors taking longer than they should have in arresting Derek Chauvin for killing George Floyd as an endorsement of the system. It was not. Rather, it was a description of the system.
We have written 53,202 posts at OTB over the years and it’s rather difficult to sift through them to find discussions of particular topics. And it’s made more challenging by it having been a group blog for the last seventeen years. Doug Mataconis, both because he’s trained as an attorney and because he was for many years more prolific, has written tons on the criminal justice system over the years. His fellow libertarian, Steve Verdon, tended to handle that beat in the earlier years. And I seldom engaged issues they’d already dealt with in posts of my own unless I either strongly disagreed or otherwise had a markedly different take.
Still, I have written a lot on the topic.
- Blue Trumps Black and White (A former RNC chair says a black man’s life isn’t worth a ham sandwich.) December 4, 2014
- Professor-Cop Blames Victims of Police Violence (17-year veteran of the LAPD says, “If you don’t want to get hurt, don’t challenge me.) August 19, 2014
- Police Are Not Soldiers; Our Communities Are Not War Zones (We should not tolerate them acting otherwise.), August 18, 2014
- Rise of the Warrior Cop (The paramilitarization of American law enforcement has had deadly consequences.) July 9, 2013
- Supreme Court: Strip Searches Always Permissible (The US Supreme Court ruled today that police can strip search anyone they decide to arrest for anything for any reason.) April 2, 2012
- Militarization of Police (David Rittgers, a legal policy analyst at the Cato Institute who served three tours in Afghanistan as a special forces officer, laments the militarization of police in America.) June 15, 2011
- Criminal Injustice (A system designed to protect the innocent has instead become a menagerie to imprison them. A legal code designed to proscribe specific behavior has instead become a vast, vague, and unpredictable invitation to selective enforcement.) June 6, 2011
- Police Taser Use: Cost-Benefit Analysis, July 29, 2009
- Paramilitarization of Police, June 6, 2008
- Police Raid Wrong House, Kill Couple’s Dog, November 20, 2007.
I’m sure there are older examples but that takes us back almost 13 years. I’ve also written a ton on the horrendous conditions to which convicted felons are subject in our prison system.
- Alabama Showed ‘Flagrant Disregard’ for Cruel Prison Conditions (The Justice Department has issued a damning report.) April 4, 2019
- The Prison-Industrial Complex (The problem goes beyond the War on Drugs.) July 26, 2015
- George Will Discovers Solitary Confinement (George Will declares solitary confinement tantamount to torture.) February 22, 2013
- America’s Prison Culture Destroying Our Future (We’re literally choosing locking up drug offenders over investing in our children.) March 31, 2012
- Solitary Confinement as Torture (WikiLeaker Bradley Manning has been held “under conditions that constitute cruel and inhumane treatment and, by the standards of many nations, even torture” for seven months and counting.) December 16, 2010
- Prison Rape and the 13th Amendment ( The state has an 8th Amendment duty to protect those it incarcerates from brutality, a duty which it quite often fails to carry out because of indifference and the hiring of “corrections officers” who are often of incredibly low intellectual caliber and moral character.) April 12, 2008
- Prison Rape (Rape is the de facto sentence for prisoners placed in many of our prisons and penitentiaries.) February 12, 2007
- Domestic Prison Abuse (Many of the things that happened at Abu Ghraib routinely take place in our domestic penitentiary system.) May 8, 2004
Again, there are likely hundreds of other posts of that sort in the archives, and probably dozens more by me.
Given how much my views on other issues have evolved over the last sixteen years, I’m surprised how consistent I’ve been. Indeed, the only real critique 2020 me would offer 2004 me is how little attention I paid until recent years to the disparate racial impact of these outrages.