Why Is It so Easy to Get Away With Murder?

The Case of Serial Killer Jose Martinez Offers a Disquieting Look at the Disparities of Our Justice System

If you commit murder in the United States, there’s a 40 percent chance you’ll get away with it. That shocking statistic belies other realities; you have better than even odds of getting away with murder if you kill people who are poor, powerless, or non-white, or if you do your murdering in less wealthy and developed places. Why are Americans willing to tolerate such widespread failure to achieve justice for murder victims? To what extent are the nation’s social problems and inequalities reflected in how authorities seek to prevent and …

Winning Freedom From Guantánamo With Forbearance and Trust

In the Shadow of Torture and Isolation, an American Lawyer and an Afghan Prisoner Bond Over Melted Mocha Ice Cream

I first visited Obaidullah at Guantánamo Bay in the spring of 2009. Before that first meeting, all I knew were the disturbing accusations against him, that he had fired his …

Did Protestant Christianity Create the Dismal American Prison System?

Puritans’ Focus On “Right Living” Helped Justify Our Harsh Treatment of Prisoners

While in Ireland teaching a criminal justice course this past semester, I had the opportunity to take a tour of an Irish prison.

The Irish prison service states one of …

Prop. 47 Has the Power to Transform South L.A., If More People Used It

By Reclassifying or Expunging Prior Convictions, Many Californians Could Gain Opportunities

One way to help transform South L.A.—and communities across California—would be for people to use the new power they have under Proposition 47 to expunge or reduce the felony convictions …

A Mass Murderer Is Testing the Limits of Scandinavian Goodwill

Norway’s Most Dangerous Man Is Back in the Spotlight, Leading Many to Wonder How Much Compassion He Deserves

For four days in March, I watched Norway’s national devil return to public view, in another installment of the courtroom drama familiarly titled Breivik v. State. Andres Behring Breivik, now …

What the Heck Is the Mexican Mafia?

How a Gang Neglected by Wardens Made It Big Outside Prison Walls

In California, there are individuals who have been tried, convicted, and sentenced to prison—and gained significant power from behind bars. The sanctions of imprisonment have become the source of their …