Thursday, December 22, 2011


Political Mayhem Thursday: Alan Bean and two good books

One of my favorite progressive activists is Alan Bean, who runs Friends of Justice down in Texas-- in fact, I like his group so much I have served on the board for a few years. Among other things, Alan is known as the person primarily responsible for breaking the story about horrendous police abuses in Tulia, Texas. His work there and elsewhere in the state lead directly to some important and far-reaching reforms. (If you want to know more about Tulia, I would recommend his book on the topic).

I would encourage you to read Alan's particularly interesting review of two books I want to read. The first is The Collapse of American Criminal Justice by the late Bill Stuntz, who is one of my real heroes in the field (and, I might add, a fellow grad of William and Mary). The second is Don't Shoot: The End of Inner-City Violence in America by David Kennedy.

What I like about Stuntz (an evangelical Christian who taught at Harvard Law School) and Kennedy (who teaches at john Jay College in New York) is that they are both realistic, challenging, and ultimately hopeful that things can get better.

If you didn't catch the first link to Bean's review, here it is again. Read it!

"The evenings find me in the Law Library doing my best to serve others who I believe are either innocent or have been treated improperly by a judicial system that I have come to see as nearly broken beyond repair."--from a Christmas card we received from a friend serving a sentence in Bastrop, Texas.
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