“A former public defender in Washington, Forman has written a masterly account of how a generation of black officials, beginning in the 1970s, wrestled with recurring crises of violence and drug use in the nation’s capital.”
Featured in New York Times’ Best 10 Books of 2017.
“James Forman Jr. may change the way you think about the mass incarceration of African-Americans on drug charges.”
Featured in NPR’s Book Concierge Great Reads of 2017.
Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America by James Forman Jr. takes a long, hard look at America’s criminal justice system, which has become the subject of an increasingly urgent debate in recent times.
The in-depth detail and masterful prose of this books has gained it much attention and many highly recommending reviews. It has received the following distinctions:
Long-listed for the National Book Award
Finalist, Current Interest Category, Los Angeles Times Book Prizes
One of The New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of 2017
Short-listed for the Inaugural Goddard Riverside Stephan Russo Book Prize for Social Justice
It is a must read and gripping in its intensity as it highlights the disproportionate impact on people of color as mass incarceration rises.
It is surpassing to realize through Forman, Jr.’s work that war on crime that targeted the black population began in the 1970s was supported by many African American leaders in the nation’s urban centers. Locking Up Our Own is Forman’s Jr’s attempt at understanding why.
During that time, there was a surge in crime and drug addiction even as the first of many black mayors, judges and police chief took office.
The black officials, including Washington, D.C. mayor Marion Barry and federal prosecutor Eric Holder, feared that the gains of the civil rights movement were being undermined by the lawlessness of a few and supported tough measures to curb this. These measures included longer sentences and aggressive police tactics. These actions may have been well-intentioned but the policies they adopted have had devastating consequences for residents of poor black neighborhoods.
Locking Up Our Own gives a rich understanding of why our society has become so disciplinary against blacks then offers important lessons on the future of race and the criminal justice system in this country.