Charged: Overzealous Prosecutors, the Quest for Mercy, and the Fight to Transform Criminal Justice in America

Charged: Overzealous Prosecutors, the Quest for Mercy, and the Fight to Transform Criminal Justice in America Review

A renowned investigative journalist exposes the unchecked power of the prosecutor as a driving force in America's mass incarceration crisis, and also offers a way out.

The American criminal justice system is supposed to be a contest between two equal adversaries, the prosecution and the defense, with judges ensuring a fair fight. But in practice, it is prosecutors who have the upper hand, in a contest that is far from equal. More than anyone else, prosecutors decide who goes free and who goes to prison, and even who lives and who dies. The system wasn't designed for this kind of unchecked power, and in Charged, Emily Bazelon shows that it is an underreported cause of enormous injustice--and the missing piece in the mass incarceration puzzle.

But that's only half the story. Prosecution in America is at a crossroads. The power of prosecutors makes them the actors in the system--the only actors--who can fix what's broken without changing a single law. They can end mass incarceration, protect against coercive plea bargains and convicting the innocent, and tackle racial bias. And because in almost every state we, the people, elect prosecutors, it is within our power to reshape the choices they make. In the last few years, for the first time in American history, a wave of reform-minded prosecutors has taken office in major cities throughout the country. Bazelon follows them, showing the difference they make for people caught in the system and how they are coming together as a new kind of lobby for justice and mercy.

In Charged, Emily Bazelon mounts a major critique of the American criminal justice system--and also offers a way out.

Title:Charged: Overzealous Prosecutors, the Quest for Mercy, and the Fight to Transform Criminal Justice in America

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    Charged: Overzealous Prosecutors, the Quest for Mercy, and the Fight to Transform Criminal Justice in America Reviews

  • Paula DeBoard

    Add CHARGED to your criminal justice reform reading list, along with The New Jim Crow and Just Mercy (... and what else? Comment with suggestions for me).There's a lot to unpack here, but Bazelon take...

  • David Wineberg

    Americans like to think their criminal justice system is the fairest in the world, that innocents can’t be proven guilty because of all the constitutional protections in the system. Nothing could be...

  • Christine

    Disclaimer: ARC via the publisher and Netgalley. The last time I did my civic duty of jury duty it was either the day after or day that Larry Krasner fired several lawyers for the DA’s office. It wa...

  • Darcia Helle

    The American criminal justice system is a mess. This really is an indisputable fact. For nearly a half century we've been fighting a War on Drugs, which has only succeeded in putting more drugs on the...

  • Tonstant Weader

    Over a dozen years ago I was working on a report for a racial profiling campaign a coalition of organizations had organized. I came across a research study that looked at racial disparities in crimina...

  • Kelly

    I know very little about the criminal justice system, and throughout, I found myself overwhelmed with how it does and does not work. Bazelon, though, explains these systems well and showcases how it i...

  • Christian Santos

    It goes beyond adding a human voice to what so often gets labeled as “criminal”. It shows the distinction between political-action and translation into layers of judicial bureaucracy. As an indivi...

  • Bettie?

    Watch Atty. Gen. Barr choose Trump rhetoric over the law For a second day in a row, Atty. Gen. William Barr proved that he is working for President Trump over U.S. Law. Lawrence asks, if Barr carries ...

  • Sophie Rayton

    A painfully important book. I had to go slowly with this because I couldn't handle the injustice for long stretches of time. Why do humans suck so much sometimes?! I'm glad this journalist is advocati...

  • Shelley

    This is a hard book to read, but a necessary one. Our system is broken and there's not much political will to fix it. People are going to continue to suffer injustice--all I can say is my hat's off to...