« Remember to attend Professor Kreit's class on drug sentencing in Room 344 at 3pm on 10/30 | Main | Understanding the challenges of criminal history through the Armed Career Criminal Act »

November 4, 2019

Thinking about the work of prosecutors as we gear up for our special guest

I am hoping you are as exited as I am for our special guest during our usual class time this afternoon.  One way to gear up might be to come to the American Constitution Society's panel on Progressive Prosecution which just happens to be taking place this today at 12:10PM in Room 244. (I have been told lunch will be from Hot Chicken Takeover at the event!)

An event about the work of prosecutors serves as a fitting prelude to our discussion with our special guest (though much of our discussions throughout the entire semester have been in some way about the work of prosecutors).   This CNN piece highlights some of our special guest's 35 years of legal experience, most of which has been served in the role of a prosecutor.  Here is our special guest's bio page at the large NYC firm where she now works.  

It is my understanding that our guest only plans to talk for a few minutes about her experiences and then will be eager to answer questions.  I urge everyone i the class to think about questions for our guest, which can be substantive about the federal sentencing system and the role of prosecutors therein or can also be career-oriented about topic like how her own career path developed or advice she would give to law students today concerning careers in government service and/or the criminal justice system.

November 4, 2019 in Class activities, Who decides | Permalink


I found AG Loretta Lynch's class discussion to be quite fascinating (I wanted to ask more about some of her gun policy work she is currently doing but didn't want to side-track the discussion). One of the areas that she touched on, which I would like to further discuss, is how we re-integrate prisoners who have served their jail time. AG Lynch (rightly) explained that a system that is not designed to help orient former prisoners back into society is doomed to re-incarcerate many of those individuals. We have discussed this cycle in class a lot through the lens of collateral consequences. As AG Lynch posed, what happens when a prisoner who has been receiving medical treatment all the sudden does not have health care because they are no longer in prison? What happens when that individual struggles to find a job to cover health care because of prohibitions on hiring felons or the stigma towards hiring formerly incarcerated individuals? How does that individual reform the system when they are struggling to provide for themselves and cannot even vote in some states (consider my blog post on Florida's Amendment 4 and how the Floridian legislature requires these same individuals to pay back what may be $10,000's just to regain voting rights)? And, what effect does that have on broad sectors of our society when incarceration rates are not constant over demographic groups (over one-in-five black residents in Florida who would have been eligible to vote otherwise have historically not been able to due to felony status)? This scenario gets at the core of punishment and sentencing: why do we do either? If it's for rehabilitation, our system is quite an odd one to achieve that. If it's for retribution, should we assess culpability the same way when we're setting people up for failure? No matter how we cut it, the fact remains true that our system is inefficient and broken.

Posted by: TJ Beavers | Nov 20, 2019 1:41:06 PM

I am cautiously hopeful Maurice Clarett will cover some of these issues based in part on his first-hand experiences. In addition, you might check out the work of project called Safe Streets & Second Chances (https://safestreetsandsecondchances.com/). Here is how it describes its work:

Safe Streets & Second Chances is an innovative program that takes an evidence-driven approach to the chronic issues of repeat offenders and recidivism, using academic research to craft individualized reentry plans that shift the ultimate measure of success from whether individuals are punished to whether these individuals are improved, rehabilitated, and capable of redemption.

Posted by: Doug B. | Nov 20, 2019 6:24:14 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.