Locking Up Our Own, Crime and Punishment in Black America by James Forman, Jr.; 2017; $27.00; 239 pages; Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, NY; 978-0-374-18997-6; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Central; 5/20/18-5/25/18
Why did I read this? Back in 2016 I decided that I would read all the Pulitzer Prize winning books. LOCKING UP OUR OWN was the 2018 Pulitzer Prize winner for General Non-Fiction.
The author takes a look at what drove African Americans to vote for measures such as maximum and minimum sentences, three strikes and other strident anti-crime measures. Even though these measures would have a strong effect on the African American population of the United States. The United States only contains 5% percent of the worlds population, however we house 25% of the worlds prisoner. The author looks at the effects the heroin and crack epidemics, and the violent crime that came with them, had on the African American population. Crime was so rampant that the population thought these measures would be effective in curing crime. However due to the systemic racism in our law enforcement and judicial systems there has been an explosion of numbers of African Americans imprisoned. Unfortunately we often look at the short term solutions without thinking about the long term effects of what we are doing.
What is with the title of the review? The population was looking for a solution for a crime wave and they imposed measures that helped stem the crime, but didn’t foresee the long term consequences.