The Blind Goddess: A Reader on Race and Justice

Overview


Blind Goddess brings together the most significant writings of practitioners, professors, and advocates to make sense of what is perhaps the nation’s most astonishing and shameful achievement: the highest per capita incarceration of its citizens anywhere in the world, compounded by the shockingly disproportionate imprisonment of poor people of color. Although there is growing awareness of the huge fiscal cost of mass incarceration, the moral, human, and social devastation of ...
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Overview


Blind Goddess brings together the most significant writings of practitioners, professors, and advocates to make sense of what is perhaps the nation’s most astonishing and shameful achievement: the highest per capita incarceration of its citizens anywhere in the world, compounded by the shockingly disproportionate imprisonment of poor people of color. Although there is growing awareness of the huge fiscal cost of mass incarceration, the moral, human, and social devastation of racially skewed law enforcement remains largely unrecognized.

The experts and scholars in this collection elucidate the impact of race on each stage of the criminal process, from policing and prosecuting to jury selection, sentencing, prison conditions, and opportunities to reenter society. Including selections from critically acclaimed New Press books such as The New Jim Crow, Let’s Get Free, and Race to Incarcerate, alongside passages from other leading contemporary works, from Amy Bach’s Ordinary Injustice to Robert Perkinson’s Texas Tough, Blind Goddess provides easy access to a wealth of cutting-edge analyses and solutions.

An essential volume for the general reader, Blind Goddess is also an ideal reality-check for students of criminal law.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Papachristou’s splendid collection of essays on the “severe racial skewering” of justice sheds light on the implications of America leading the world in per-capita inmate populations—and that “more black Americans are incarcerated than ever were enslaved at one time.” The anthology leads the reader through the several stages of the criminal justice system: who gets arrested; how police, prosecutors, defense lawyers, and juries really work; what sentencing practices are; how prisons operate; what “collateral consequences” in the family and broad community are, as “the punishment never stops.” Papachristou is broadly inclusive in his selection of scholarly paper, advocacy report, op-ed essay, blog, and excerpts from the most recent books mingle in this comprehensive gathering, buttressed by statistics and given historical and legal contexts. Racial profiling in New Jersey, stop and frisk in New York City, victimization by the war on drugs, peremptory strikes excluding African-American from juries, “death penalty politics,” disenfranchisement—it’s all here and more. Even as voice, tone, and focus vary, the collection has the coherence of a single narrative that’s scholarly enough to satisfy the pickiest reader and readable (and important) enough for the layman. (Nov.) . ,
Library Journal
Contemporary racism reveals itself through the criminal justice system according to this well-integrated set of readings. Papachristou (former president, Near East Fdn.) presents selections from various sources written by experts in the fields of law, social sciences, and community advocacy. After an introduction comparing today's high rate of incarceration to the Jim Crow era, the book is organized around traditional components of the criminal justice system from policing to incarceration issues. Methodologies vary, but all the selections support the idea that the U.S. hyperincarceration rate, grounded in the government's "War on Drugs" and other punitive trends, has resulted in a new form of structural racism. The book concludes with a section on possible solutions, including Lani Guinier's call for a new "racial literacy" in which color blindness as a goal is replaced by the capacity to read the meaning of race in various contexts. VERDICT Valuable for its consistent perspective and the abundance of research and analysis it contains, this book is recommended for academic and specialized criminal justice and law collections. A powerful and provocative critique of the contemporary urban criminal justice system.—Antoinette Brinkman, Evansville, IN
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595586995
  • Publisher: New Press, The
  • Publication date: 11/8/2011
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 683,276
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Alexander Papachristou began his legal career representing prisoners and went on to practice corporate law both domestically and internationally. He now leads and advises social justice organizations focusing on human rights, education reform, and socioeconomic development.

Patricia J. Williams is the James L. Dohr Professor of Law at Columbia University and writes the monthly column “Diary of a Mad Law Professor” for The Nation. The author of four books, she is a recipient of the MacArthur foundation “genius” grant. They both live in New York City.

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