Alec Karakatsanis - "Usual Cruelty: The Complicity of Lawyers in the Criminal Injustice System"

Monday, November 16, 2020 - 5:00pm - 6:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Alec Karakatsanis

Alec Karakatsanis will discuss Usual Cruelty: The Complicity of Lawyers in the Criminal Injustice System.

Presented in partnership with Human Rights Lab at the Pozen Center; the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture (CSRPC); and the Mass Incarceration Working Group.

Virtual event


About the book: Alec Karakatsanis is interested in what we choose to punish and troubled by how the legal system works when it is trying to punish people. The bail system, for example, is meant to ensure that people return for court dates. But it has morphed into a way to lock up poor people who have not been convicted of anything. He’s so concerned about this that he has personally sued court systems across the country, resulting in literally tens of thousands of people being released from jail when their money bail was found to be unconstitutional.
Karakatsanis doesn’t think people who have gone to law school, passed the bar, and sworn to uphold the Constitution should be complicit in the mass caging of human beings—an everyday brutality inflicted disproportionately on the bodies and minds of poor people and people of color and for which the legal system has never offered sufficient justification. Usual Cruelty is a profoundly radical reconsideration of the American “injustice system” by someone who is actively, wildly successfully, challenging it.
About the author: A graduate of Yale College and Harvard Law School, Alec Karakatsanis is the founder of Civil Rights Corps, an organization dedicated to challenging systematic injustice in the American legal system. He was named the 2016 Trial Lawyer of the Year by Public Justice for his work designing constitutional challenges to the money bail system. He lives in Washington, DC. This is his first book.
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