SOCIAL SCIENCES

Charged: The New Movement To Transform American Prosecution and End Mass Incarceration

Random. Apr. 2019. 448p. notes. index. ISBN 9780399590016. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780399590023. LAW
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OrangeReviewStarNew York Times Magazine staff writer Bazelon (Sticks and Stones) reveals unfairness within the American judicial system brought about by excessive powers granted to the nation's 2,400 district attorneys (DAs), the chief prosecutors of each state. The author presents a strong case for ending mass incarceration, which has resulted in a five-fold increase in the number of inmates since the 1980s. Inconsistencies within the system are revealed through the stories of two young people: a woman sentenced for the murder of her mother, in part because of withheld evidence; and a man who avoided serving time for gun possession by completing a diversionary program. Critical issues investigated include appropriate sentencing, misuse of bail, racial disparity, the high cost of incarceration, and the qualifications of elected DAs. Interesting commentary is offered on the reform movement and its leaders, including DAs Eric Gonzalez (Brooklyn) and Larry Krasner (Philadelphia). The author concludes that the ultimate power for reform lies with prosecutors and the voters who elect them.
VERDICT This significant contribution to the literature of judicial reform will interest informed readers and members of the legal system. See Shane Bauer's American Prison for another account of judicial inequity.

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