Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America

Longlist, National Book Awards 2017 for Nonfiction

Locking Up Our Own, by James Forman, Jr. book cover
ISBN 9780374189976
Farrar, Straus & Giroux / Macmillan Publishers
James Forman, Jr. author photo, credit: Harold Shapiro
James Forman, Jr.

James Forman, Jr. is a professor of law at Yale Law School. He has written for The New York TimesThe Atlantic, numerous law reviews, and other publications. A former clerk for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, he spent six years as a public defender in Washington, D.C., where he cofounded the Maya Angelou Public Charter School. More about this author >

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In recent years, America’s criminal justice system has become the subject of an increasingly urgent debate. Critics have assailed the rise of mass incarceration, emphasizing its disproportionate impact on people of color. As James Forman, Jr., points out, however, the war on crime that began in the 1970s was supported by many African American leaders in the nation’s urban centers. In Locking Up Our Own, he seeks to understand why.