Tag Archives: Criminal Justice

What makes Unfair an ideal first year experience selection?

9780770437763A checklist from Adam Benforado on what makes his Unfair: The New Science of Criminal Justice (Crown, June 2015) ideal for common reading:

√ Student Engagement.   It’s impossible to choose a book that all students will find interesting and relevant, but Unfair comes awfully close. Crime and the responses to crime define our lives—the paths we walk, the rules we follow, the taxes we pay, the shows we watch. And there is something about criminal law stories that hold us by the edge of our seat. The cases I explore have all the drama of Law & Order or CSI episodes, but they’re real and they raise compelling questions: What could lead an otherwise upstanding attorney to conceal a critical piece of evidence from the other side? Why would a person confess to a crime she didn’t commit when under no physical duress? Is it possible to tell whether someone is guilty by looking at a scan of his brain? The answers from psychology and neuroscience are often just as riveting. Continue reading

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Each Of Us Is More Than The Worst Thing We’ve Ever Done: Just Mercy With Bryan Stevenson

Bryan Stevenson -- credit Nina SubinBy Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Spiegel & Grau, October 2014)

My grandmother was the daughter of people who were enslaved in Caroline County, Virginia. She was born in the 1880s, her parents in the 1840s, and the legacy of slavery very much shaped her and the things she would say to me. When I visited my grandmother, she would hug me so tightly I could barely breathe. After a little while, she would ask me, “Bryan, do you still feel me hugging you?” If I said yes, she’d let me be; if I said no, she would assault me again. I said no a lot because it made me happy to be wrapped in her formidable arms. She never tired of pulling me to her. “You can’t understand most of the important things from a distance, Bryan. You have to get close,” she told me all the time. Continue reading

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