The American Prospect

A monthly political journal of liberal though. Contains articles that generate debate, further ideas, and set agendas; and provides a forum for working through the controversies and hard choices facing all Americans. Includes regular topics and features.

Articles from Vol. 22, No. 1, January-February

Bipartisan Justice: Fixing America's Punitive Penal System Has Politicians Crossing Party Lines
Moments before landmark legislation to reduce prison sentences for low-level crack-cocaine offenses passed the House of Representatives in July, Rep. Lamar Smith, a Republican from Texas, issued a warning to the chamber: "The Democratic Party teeters...
Closed Circuit: Could Opening Juvenile Court Hearings and Records Help Uncover Systemic Abuse and Corruption?
Eric Trapolsi was a 14-year-old student in a special school designed for children with behavioral problems when his court records caught the attention of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Barbara White Stack in 2005. Trapolsi complained that he had...
Culture before Politics: In Freeing Creativity, Progressives Can Once Again Capture and Carry Forward Our National Imagination
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] On Nov. 3, progressives awoke to find that they had returned to 2004. Despite important legislative victories, Democrats had been outflanked. Republicans had successfully sold themselves as the party of economic growth, the...
Education vs. Incarceration: More Money Must Go to Schools Than to Prisons before High-Crime Neighborhoods Can Truly Be Reformed
Since 1980, the U.S. prison population has grown exponentially, expanding from approximately 500,000 to 2.3 million people in just three decades. America now has the dubious distinction of leading the world in prison population: We account for 25 percent...
Eyes on the Prize: Our Moral and Ethical Duty to End Mass Incarceration
Today, nearly 1 percent of the American adult population is imprisoned--a rate unprecedented in this country's history. A staggering $68 billion is spent annually on the country's local, state, and federal corrections systems. This "investment" in...
Indefensible: Five Decades after a Landmark Supreme Court Case Establishing the Fight to a Public-Defense Lawyer, the Poor Still Lack Adequate Legal Representation
June Hardwickhas been brainstorming with a black marker on poster-size papers covering her office wall. The Jackson, Mississippi, assistant public defender is reviewing the facts--and possible defense arguments--in a client's statutory rape case. "No...
May It Please the Court: Problem-Solving Courts Have a Track Record of Lowering Recidivism and Incarceration Costs, but They Still Don't Reach Enough Offenders
Inside a nondescript building on Polk Street in San Francisco's troubled Tenderloin district, an experimental court is trying to sort out the lives of the accused. Known as the Community Justice Center, the court regularly sees prostitutes, thieves,...
On the Block: A Pilot Program in Oakland, California, Combines Community Policing with Social Services and Gets At-Risk Young Men off the Street
It's been raining and the San Francisco Giants are on TV, so the streets are quiet. We're cruising through East Oakland, one of the most violent parts of a violent city. A knot of drug dealers loiters in front of a housing project, and craekheads sit...
Permanent Lockdown: Forcing Ex-Offenders to Pay for Their Incarceration Is Yet Another Perverse Policy That Makes Successful Re-Entry Next to Impossible
Missouri defense attorney Justin Carver has seen it a million times. One of his clients, an 18-year-old parolee, was about to be sent back to prison because he was late paying restitution and "user fees" related to property-damage and peace-disturbance...
Post-Literalism
There's a malady that Washington liberals and media types are particularly susceptible to. I've got a chronic recurring case of it myself. Call it policy literalism--the persistent belief that policy should have a rational, direct relationship to politics....
Progressive Agenda Score Card
This magazine declared the dawn of 2009 "Our Moment." The election of Barack Obama and a Democratic majority offered progressives a chance to deal with decades of deferred maintenance on the American dream. Our agenda included tackling long-standing...
Smarter Punishment, Less Crime: Why Reducing Incarceration and Victimization Should Be Complementary Goals
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Despite the dramatic fall in crime rates since 1994, crime continues to impose massive social costs, strongly concentrated by race and class. Crime-avoidance behavior does far more damage than actual criminal acts. When...
The New Jim Crow: How Mass Incarceration Turns People of Color into Permanent Second-Class Citizens
The first time I encountered the idea that our criminal-justice system functions much like a racial caste system, I dismissed the notion. It was more than 10 years ago in Oakland when I was rushing to catch the bus and spotted a bright orange sign...
The Next Banking Crisis: The Foreclosure Mess May Force a Solution to the Deeper Economic Drag of Underwater Mortgages and Zombie Banks
Last June, Thomas Cox, a legal-services lawyer representing a Maine homeowner named Nicolle Bradbury, took an extended deposition from a clerk for the mortgage giant GMAC, which was trying to foreclose on Bradbury's house. GMAC, once the financing...
The President's Movie: Like Most Liberals, Obama Resists Entering the Darkened Theater That Reagan Mastered
Most people seem to agree that the single greatest mystery of the Obama presidency is how a candidate who stoked hope, raised expectations, and stirred tens of millions of Americans to embrace change became a president who banked the fires of hope,...
The Republicans' Senior Moment
One reason the electoral map turned red in November was that the electorate turned gray. Older Americans went to the polls in droves to vote Republican, while young people stayed home. And one big question about 2012 is whether the elderly will still...
The Tea Party Troubadours: Meet the Artists Providing the Soundtrack to Patriotism
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] At 7 P.M. on election night, around 50 people milled about a ballroom on the lower level of Capitol Hill's Hyatt Regency hotel, waiting for a party hosted by the Tea Party Patriots to really get started. Most guests loaded...
Too Small to Save: Did the Nation's Largest Community Bank Collapse Because of Its Social-Justice Mission-Or Its Financial Ambitions?
Location is everything, especially in Chicago, where your neighborhood isn't just where you live but who you are. Rahm Emanuel, running for mayor, can't get any respect because he grew up in the suburbs. Barack Obama, Senate hopeful, won in part because...
What Happens When Anti-Government Have to Govern?
ADAM SERWER: So how excited are you about our new anti-big guvmint Republican majority in the House? JAMELLE BOULE: Extremely excited. I can't wait until they begin their small-government crusade of passing agricultural subsidies and lavishing money...
Year of the Same
I'll admit it: I thought Sarah Palin might be right. When she and other conservative leaders declared 2010 the Year of the Republican Woman--and media outlets followed suit--it seemed plausible. Although I disagreed with the politics of the "mama grizzlies,"...
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