When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in August of 2005, the criminal justice infrastructure was among the many casualties; courtrooms were destroyed, personnel scattered and prisoners evacuated all over the state and beyond. But it brought attention to a system that was already so badly in need of repair it routinely violated constitutional norms.
William Stuntz, the Henry J. Friendly Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, is an expert on criminal law and procedure and crime policy. He has co-written a casebook on criminal procedure and published numerous articles on all aspects of the criminal justice system, in law reviews, journals, and periodicals.
We live in strange times. The federal budget deficit is higher than at any time since World War II as a percentage of GDP, yet the president and Congress are not in budget-cutting mode. Sadly, in the face of record-breaking federal spending, one uncommonly good spending idea has gotten short shrift: Use federal budget dollars to pay for more cops on high-crime city streets
“Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.”
Those words, written by noted death penalty lawyer Bryan Stevenson ’85, were very much on the mind of Katie Wozencroft ’09 this summer, when she made the four-hour drive from Atlanta to an Alabama prison where condemned prisoners are executed.