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Past Event

Emily Bazelon: Criminal Injustice in America

There are 2.2 million people in American prisons and jails—a 500 percent increase over the last 40 years. We have heard about the role of government policies and law enforcement practices that factor into the creation of this statistic, but we rarely hear about the individuals who interact most closely with putting these people in jail: prosecutors. Renowned journalist and legal commentator Emily Bazelon investigates the power prosecutors hold in the outcome of a case in her new book, Charged: The New Movement to Transform American Prosecution­ and End Mass Incarceration.

Prosecutors are some of the most powerful actors in the criminal justice system, as they are virtually unchecked in their power to decide what to charge defendants with, how to set bail and determine the plea bargain. Bazelon shows how prosecution in America is at a crossroads and details both the damage that overzealous prosecutors can do as well as the second chances they can extend, if they choose. Join us for a conversation that investigates the unchecked power in the criminal justice system and identifies a possible solution to this mass incarceration crisis.


Bazelon photo by Nina Subin

May 7, 2019

The Commonwealth Club
110 The Embarcadero
Taube Family Auditorium
San Francisco, 94105
United States

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Emily Bazelon

Staff Writer, The New York Times Magazine; Author, Charged: The New Movement to Transform American Prosecution and End Mass Incarceration; Twitter @emilybazelon

Image - Marisa Lagos

In Conversation with Marisa Lagos

Reporter for California Politics and Government, KQED; Twitter @mlagos