CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Friday, November 27, 2009

"On 'Undercover Brothers,' Conscience & Getting Free"

Paul Butler (George Washington University) has a post at ACSBlog discussing his book, "Let's Get Free: A Hip-Hop Theory of Justice." In part:

Of special interest to lawyers and law students is a chapter that asks "Should Good People Be Prosecutors?" The answer is "no." As a young African-American man who had several unpleasant experiences with the police, I became a prosecutor hoping that I could make a difference. I went in as an "undercover brother" who hoped to change things from the inside. Instead, I found, the system changed me.

In researching the book, I interviewed several progressive prosecutors who, like me, became disenchanted with the work. You're not really allowed to use the power that you have in a way that makes a big difference. Your main work, as a line prosecutor, is to put people in prison, and if you seem too uncool with that fact, you start to arouse suspicion.

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