• Mass Murder

    It seems necessary to stop. Necessary to not just go on with whatever it is we are doing. How can mass murder become a routine occurrence in America? How can a horror like the Newtown, Connecticut massacre, for all its shock—the execution of children!—carry with it the strange sensation of utter familiarity? At what point […]

  • Gangsters

    On Tuesday in New York the U.S. Department of Justice announced its settlement of charges against the multinational bank HSBC for, among other things, laundering $881 million in drug trafficking proceeds. Hundreds of millions of dollars from drug buyers and sellers in the United States was the fuel for an elaborate international scheme that connected […]

  • The Disconnected: Youth, Policy, Work

    “Work is about a search for daily meaning as well as daily bread, for recognition as well as cash, for astonishment rather than torpor; in short, for a sort of life, rather than a Monday-to-Friday sort of dying.” Pulitzer Prize winning author Studs Terkel wrote this in his classic oral history Working, and is the […]

  • Condemnation of Blackness: Crime, Numbers and Baltimore

    December always brings an accounting. In the last month of the calendar year we sum our various categories of crime and we look for meaning in the numbers. We look to have the numbers speak for themselves. Policymakers, journalists, advocates, and law enforcement will point to the numbers to make their various arguments for what […]

  • Second Chance Education

    A young man I have tutored for a few years recently got his GED. He left Baltimore City public schools in the fifth-grade. “Dropout” is not an appropriate description for a fifth-grader. Over a number of years he has spent time in juvenile detention, group homes, and the Baltimore City Detention Center. When I met […]

  • Designer Prisons

    Prison design and architecture has been closely entwined with public debates over prison policy and the meaning of justice in a democracy since the earliest days of the Republic.