In his impassioned-yet-measured book, Rafael A. Mangual offers an incisive critique of America's increasingly radical criminal justice reform movement, and makes a convincing case against the pursuit of "justice" through mass-decarceration and depolicing.
After a summer of violent protests in 2020—sparked by the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Rayshard Brooks—a dangerously false narrative gained mainstream acceptance: Criminal justice in the United States is overly punitive and racially oppressive. But, the harshest and loudest condemnations of incarceration, policing, and prosecution are often shallow and at odds with the available data. And the significant harms caused by this false narrative are borne by those who can least afford them: black and brown people who are disproportionately the victims of serious crimes.
In Criminal (In)Justice, Rafael A. Mangual offers a more balanced understanding of American criminal justice, and cautions against discarding traditional crime control measures. A powerful combination of research, data-driven policy journalism, and the author's lived experiences, this book explains what many reform advocates get wrong, and illustrates how the misguided commitment to leniency places America's most vulnerable communities at risk.
The stakes of this moment are incredibly high. Ongoing debates over criminal justice reform have the potential to transform our society for a generation—for better or for worse. Grappling with the data—and the sometimes harsh realities they reflect—is the surest way to minimize the all-too-common injustices plaguing neighborhoods that can least afford them.
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In Criminal (In)Justice, Rafael Mangual draws on the seemingly forgotten lessons of our past success to make a powerful (and timely) case against discarding the systems and approaches that brought about the remarkable decline in crime that began in the early 1990s. This admirable and highly informed departure from the conventional wisdom about criminal justice in the United States is required reading for those concerned about public safety.” —William Barr, former U.S. Attorney General and bestselling author of One Damn Thing After Another: Memoirs of an Attorney General