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Let's Get Free: A Hip-Hop Theory of Justice Hardcover – May 12, 2009
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"An intriguing volume . . . the building block for future scholarship and conversations about racial issues affecting real people." —LA Daily Journal
"Provides a framework of solutions to a stressed and broken justice system that is in need of reform." —purepolitics.com
"A can’t-put-it-down call to action from a progressive former prosecutor. Butler’s take on controversial topics like snitching and drug legalization is provocative . . . smart and very entertaining." —Danny Glover
"A fresh and thought-provoking perspective on the war on drugs, snitches, and whether locking so many people up really makes Americans safer." —Anthony Romero, executive director, American Civil Liberties Union
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Top Customer Reviews
Ironically, Butler points out that prosecutorial bullying coupled with the indiscriminate use of paid informants ("snitches") has radically undermined the rule of law. Indiscriminate prosecution leads to a fatalistic attitude in some communities that come to regard prosecution more as an inevitable misfortune than an avoidable sanction. Paid informants not only undermine community trust and generate false information, but they also allow some of the worst offenders to carry on a life of crime in the knowledge that the police will protect and excuse their paid informers.
As the book's title suggests, Butler derives a series of principles for approaching the problems of criminal justice that are derived from hip hop culture. No disrespect, but I am about as familiar with hip hop as I am with Russian folk dancing, which is to say, not very.Read more ›
So why did I give it only four stars rather than five? Because I take issue with the statement on page 124, "Punishment should be the point of criminal justice, but it should be limited by the impact it has on the entire community." Everything he's said in the book would lead me to assume he has a different goal. As an enthusiast for the Restorative Practices movement, I believe, and I infer that he really believes as well, that punishment may serve a goal of individual and social justice, but is not a goal in itself. That takes us right back to the damage done by the focus on retribution, inflicting pain for pain, which has led us to the "Get tough on crime" thing in the first place. As he so aptly points out, getting "tough on crime" is nothing of the sort. It's "getting tough on criminals," which, as he points out, has the effect of increasing crime. On page 19 he says, "There is a tipping point at which crime increases if too many people are incarcerated. The United States is past this point. If we lock up fewer people, we will be safer." This point is elaborated on p. 25 by his pointing out that "Now, the United States has the largest rate of incarceration in the history of the free world."
Interestingly, evidence from sources other than Butler's book suggests that the rate of imprisonment is directly related to the decision to privatize prisons. I recall a friend of mine - a former state administrator of probation - saying at the time, "Just watch.Read more ›
I've rarely said this about any book, but this is one of the most relevant books Americans could read right now. Very highly recommended!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent read! Paul Butler does an excellent job at pointing out some of the problems with the criminal justice system. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Adrian
Let's get free! Thank you for having copies available. Ordered for a class assignment got an "A". Thank You!Published 8 months ago by DaQuan A.
The book is unmarked and attractive, exactly as advertised. I recommend this seller.Published 11 months ago by Robert P. Covelli
This book addresses a question I have had for a long time: Why, with all the might and power of the U.S. has there been hardly a dent made in the war on drugs. Read morePublished 12 months ago by E. A. Stowers
This book is an important work examining our criminal justice system in a critical and thoughtful way and suggesting solutions to deeply entrenched and troubling problems. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Dan
Great price, the book was a quick easy read, seller shipped on time and item as described.Published 16 months ago by KEITH MAYFIELD
I recently saw Paul Butler giving an interview on the Ferguson case. I was very impressed with his ideas about the judicial system and race in this country, and how we've basically... Read morePublished 17 months ago by pinkygirl10
Very enlightening and troubling. There's got to be a better system.Published 18 months ago by Stuart B. Rich