David C. Anderson, a journalist and author who wrote extensively about criminal justice in books and in the New York Times, where he was a member of the editorial board for 12 years, died yesterday in Manhattan. He was 62 and died of cancer, according to the Times. Anderson was a member of the board of directors of Criminal Justice Journalists, which produces Crime & Justice News. His editorials, articles and books addressed policing practices, the courts, sentencing, incarceration and rehabilitation. He argued against the death penalty and opposed the trend toward automatic life sentences as a way to reduce crime. Instead, he advocated community policing, through which officers work more closely with neighborhood groups.
Anderson was born in Washington and grew up in Scarsdale, N.Y. He graduated from Oberlin College with a degree in English in 1964. From 1964 to 1967, he was in the Peace Corps in Costa Rica. He worked at the Wall Street Journal and the and New York Times Magazine before joining Criminal Justice Publications, which published Police Magazine and Corrections Magazine. He returned to the Times from 1981 to 1993. Anderson’s books include “Children of Special Value: Interracial Adoption in America” (1971), based on his own adoptions across racial lines; “Crimes of Justice” (1988), which drew on crimes committed against him and his family, and advocated tough punishment for criminals; “Crime and the Politics of Hysteria” (1995), which tried to separate fact from fiction in the case of Willie Horton, and “Sensible Justice” (1998), which argued that rehabilitation of prisoners was being ignored.