Rethinking Crime and Punishment in the United States
The roots of the American criminal justice system reveal how the past bleeds into the present. The United States currently imprisons more people than any other country in the world and regularly turns a blind eye to the astonishing cruelty and institutionalized racism on display 24/7 in its prisons. How did a nation built on the rule of law get to this point, and what can be done about it?
Tony Platt begins by asking what a prison is and considers the commonalities between prisons, ghettos and reservations. He urges us to think about the public functions of private security and how the welfare system demeans and criminalizes many, but mostly poor women. Platt also explores the deep historical roots of the Trump administration’s law-and-order agenda, with specific attention to race, class and gender, and explains the failure of past reform efforts that have, ironically, led to an expansion of the police state rather than a contraction. Platt’s Beyond These Walls is a call to action, a bold plan for structural reforms to improve justice for all.
The Commonwealth Club
110 The Embarcadero
Toni Rembe Rock Auditorium
San Francisco, 94105