The crime of punishment

The percentage of black and white adults using drugs is the same, but blacks are nine times more likely to go to jail for drug crimes. Stuntz’s thesis is that the misrule of politics has replaced the rule of law, with a ratchet of ever-expanding criminal laws giving boundless discretion to police and prosecutors, leading to a system that wrongly punishes too many poor young black men. When the law gives that much discretion, he writes, it stops functioning as law and instead becomes an assertion of power. The recent decline in crime is less a sign of success than of pathology. The encouraging numbers are misleading. They conceal devastating failure. [a recensão ao livro, aqui]

The Collapse of American Criminal Justice By William Stuntz • Harvard University Press • 2011 • 408 pages