Cover Image: Punishment Without Trial

Punishment Without Trial

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Member Reviews

Anther Critical Book For Those Seeking To Understand The American Justice System. This is yet another critical book for those seeking to understand the full scope of all that is wrong with the American justice system and how we got here, along with Radley Balko's Rise of the Warrior Cop, Michelle Alexander's New Jim Crow (referenced herein, with solid points about where Alexander goes wrong in her presumptions), and Maya Schenwar and Victoria Law's Prison By Any Other Name. Whereas Balko looks at police militarization, Alexander looks at mass incarceration, and Schenwar and Law look at probation and parole, here we look at the critical phase *between* arrest and conviction - the various and severely punitive pre-trial punishments and plea bargains. It is within the scope of this particular problem that Hessick shows just how large and pervasive this particular problem is - to the level that even as many often acknowledge its shortcomings, it is often protected as a means of not "overburdening" the courts! (A tip for "lawmakers": Rescind 10 laws for every 1 you pass. That would go quite far in reducing the burden on the courts. #ijs ;) )

Truly a remarkable and shocking work, and one that every American needs to read. Very much recommended.
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This book is extremely eye opening! It is easy to brush off things you see in the paper or online an think that a guilty or no contest plea denotes true guilt, but that is often just not the case. This book causes the reader to question what real justice looks like and if our country has perhaps lost sight of that. Absolutely makes you think!
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Plea bargains have gone from a mere aspect of the criminal justice system to the main player, as most cases now end in a sentence served as the result of a bargain; 97% of them, in fact. 

Punishment Without Trial analyzes the legal, political, and social consequences of plea bargainings massive role in the criminal justice system, from mass incarceration to a breakdown of the third and sixth amendments, and reinforcing racism, classism, disability, and the socioeconomic injustice built into the fabric of our culture. 

Plea bargains are an often overlooked aspect of criminal justice reform, but a crucial issue in repairing it. This is a must-read for your anti-racist reading list.
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