On Monday night, James Forman, Jr. talked about his “superb and shattering” (per the New York Times) new book, “Locking Up Our Own: Rethinking Crime and Punishment in Black America,” as part of OSI-Baltimore’s Talking About Race series.
Watch the whole event below.
The event, at the University of Baltimore Law School’s Moot Court Room, was co-sponsored by the University of Baltimore’s College of Public Affairs and the School of Law. After OSI Director Diana Morris introduced Forman and he spoke for 30 minutes, Law School Dean Ronald Weich led a conversation in which Weich, U.S. Court of Appeals Senior Judge and OSI-Baltimore Advisory Board Member Andre M. Davis, and University of Baltimore Law School Professor Odeana Neal praised Forman’s work, with Judge Davis calling it essential reading.
Forman drew on his six years as a Washington D.C. public defender and extensive research to describe how the first substantial cohort of black mayors, judges, and police chiefs took office in the 1970s amid a surge in crime and addiction. Many worried that the civil rights victories would be undermined by lawlessness and thus embraced tough sentencing and police tactics. The policies they adopted had devastating consequences for poor black neighborhoods.