Books

Punishment Without Crime: How Our Massive Misdemeanor System Traps the Innocent and Makes America More Unequal

Alexandra Natapoff

Tuesday, July 23rd, 6:30pm
"What Lies Between Us" with Ayanna Najuma
A conversational platform on social justice, Ms. Najuma will be discussing “Punishment Without Crime: How Our Massive Misdemeanor System Traps the Innocent and Makes America More Unequal” by Alexandra Natapoff. Based on extensive original research, legal scholar Alexandra Natapoff reveals the inner workings of a massive petty offense system that produces over 13 million cases each year. People arrested for minor crimes are swept through courts where defendants often lack lawyers, judges process cases in mere minutes, and nearly everyone pleads guilty. This misdemeanor machine starts punishing people long before they are convicted; it punishes the innocent, and it punishes conduct that never should have been a crime. As a result, vast numbers of Americans — most of them poor and people of color — are stigmatized as criminals, impoverished through fines and fees, and stripped of drivers’ licenses, jobs, and housing.

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