A Hip-Hop Theory Of Justice
On Sale: May 12, 2009
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"Paul Butler utilizes his years as a prosecutor and law
teacher to dramatically describe this country's war on crime
as one encouraging what it seeks to eliminate, corrupting
those commissioned to enforce its laws and, in the process,
ruining more lives than it protects. Butler conveys this
tragedy with a wry humor and through a careful review of
studies, experience, and insight."
author of Faces at the Bottom of the Well and
visiting professor at NYU Law School
and intelligent analysis of U.S. justice. Butler has a fresh
and thought-provoking perspective on issues like the war on
drugs, snitches, and whether locking so many people up
really makes Americans safer. Butler's compelling writing
makes Let's Get Free a great read, and his insightful
analysis has the potential to make the United States a more
--Anthony D. Romero, executive
director, American Civil Liberties Union
Get Free is a tour de force. This book is provocative
and informative and creates a cross-generational dialogue
that will enrich all those who read it. It helps us
understand the complexity of crime and the need to moderate
punishment. This is a good read and a must
--Charles J, Ogletree Jr., author of When
Law Fails, professor of law at Harvard and the executive
director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race
Paul Butler was an ambitious federal
prosecutor, a Harvard Law grad who traded in his corporate
law salary to fight the good fight. It was those years on
the front lines that convinced him that the American
criminal justice system is fundamentally broken--it's not
making the streets safer, nor helping the people he'd hoped,
as a prosecutor, to protect.
In Let's Get
Free, Butler, now an award-winning law professor, looks
at several places where ordinary citizens interact with the
justice system--as jurors, crime witnesses, and in
encounters with the police--and explores what "doing the
right thing" means in a corrupt system.
provocative proposals include jury nullification--voting
"not guilty" in certain non-violent cases as a form of
protest, just saying "no" when the police request your
permission to search, and refusing to work inside the
criminal justice system. And his groundbreaking "hip-hop
theory of justice" reveals an important analysis of crime
and punishment found in pop culture.
Chock full of
great stories and cutting-edge analysis, this accessible and
lively critique will change the way you think about crime
and punishment in the United States. As Butler eloquently
argues, when we end mass incarceration and excessive police
power, everyone wins. Let's Get Free offers a
powerful new vision of justice.
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