The Pathological Politics of Criminal Justice

Rachel Barkow contends criminal justice policy is a “prisoner of politics,” driven by appeals to voters’ worst instincts and an aversion to evidence of what actually works. Defined by its severity and unfairness, the criminal justice system, she says, is counterproductive to the goal of public safety it claims as its justification. In her new book, the NYU law professor makes a provocative case for “freeing” criminal justice from the political imperative in order to achieve real reform.

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