gangs

From Gang Member to PhD: Defying the Odds

At the age of 14, Christian L. Bolden was a gang member in San Antonio, Tx. Several decades later, he had crossed apparently insurmountable barriers to become a university professor studying gang sociology. In a conversation with TCR about his new book, he discusses how the hurdles have gotten even higher for young men today who are trying to navigate a system bent on punishing, rather than rehabilitating, them.

prison

‘The Madness of Incarceration’: The Corrosive Effect of U.S. Jails and Prisons

Anyone who has experienced the dehumanizing environment of most U.S. prisons would not be surprised by the high levels of recidivism in our corrections system, says psychiatrist Dr. Christine Montross. In a conversation with TCR about her new book, Dr. Montross argues nothing will change until we treat incarcerated people with “humanity.”

justice

Is U.S. Legal System ‘Stacked Against Poor’?

Why do courts prosecute people for crimes that never happened? The answer, former New York City public defender Jessica Henry says in a conversation with TCR about her new book on U.S. legal practices, lies in the system’s reluctance to correct errors.

death row

Capital Punishment and the ‘Culture’ of Revenge

While opposition to the death penalty is growing across the country, the justice system is still skewed towards the maximum punishment, Jodie Sinclair says in a new book about her successful 25-year struggle to free her husband from prison. But in a conversation with TCR, she suggests that the huge cost of mass incarceration, together with crises like the COVID-19 pandemic, have improved the climate for reform.

drugs

Why Drug Courts Fail

Over the last few decades, drug courts have emerged as a significant policy tool in the nation’s efforts to combat addiction, but how effective are they? In a conversation with TCR, Kerwin Kaye says the findings of his new book show they are subject to the same biases that have marred other much-touted justice reforms.

michael segal

‘Conviction at Any Cost’: The Tangled Case of Michael Segal

When multi-millionaire Chicago insurance broker Michael Segal was convicted in a $30 million fraud case, it was widely celebrated as the downfall of a notorious white-collar criminal. In a forthcoming book, however, he claims to be the victim of prosecutorial overreach. Author Maurice Possley tells TCR why he has a legitimate case.

crack

Rocks and Riches: How Crack Cocaine Affected America

It was no coincidence that the crack cocaine epidemic exploded during a time of dramatic transformation in the U.S. economy, says David Farber, author of a new book. In a conversation with TCR, he argues that, even as it destroyed lives and fueled mass incarceration, it provided a passport for some young men into the prevailing 1980s lifestyle of greed and amorality.