Sunday, June 2, 2013

Amy Bach, Ordinary Injustice: How America Holds Court

Amy Bach, author of Ordinary Injustice: How America Holds Court, spoke to the students of the College of Law's Externship Program about the pitfalls of accepting the status quo in our legal system, and the severe harm to individuals that can result.

Ordinary Injustice Author website:
Winner of the 2010 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award

Are our courts beyond repair? 
Read a proposal to fix our courts.

Justice by the Numbers
The New York Times
Published: August 10, 2010

IN communities across the country, people use statistics on hospitals, schools and other public services to decide where to live or how to vote. But while millions of Americans deal with their local criminal courts as defendants and victims each year, there is no comparable way to assess a judicial system and determine how well it provides basic legal services.

This lack of data has a corrosive effect: without public awareness of a court system’s strengths and weaknesses, inefficiencies and civil liberties violations are never remedied.

That’s why America needs a “justice index” to show how the essential aspects of our local courts are working. The index, compiled according to national standards, would function roughly like college rankings, evaluating county courts on factors like cost, recidivism, crime reduction and collateral consequences, including whether people lose their jobs or homes after contact with the criminal justice system. Read more here

Reviews for Ordinary Injustice

"One of the most powerful and important books on the law published in 2009…".
- National Law Journal

 "This is a magnificent work, a crusading call for reform in the tradition of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring or Ralph Nader’s Unsafe at Any Speed…This groundbreaking book deserves widespread attention." - Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of Team of Rivals

 "In different places across the country Amy Bach watched what went on in courtrooms. Her accounts of what she saw should open others' eyes to unwelcome reality. It is a revealing and important book." - The New York Review of Books

"Amy Bach, a writer and attorney, has found a powerful and frightening story in the day-to-day workings of the justice system and, in particular, how it fails to live up to its ideals – ]the routine injustice,’ she writes, ‘is happening in courtrooms across the country.’" - Chicago Tribune

 "It takes an attorney to investigate state county courtrooms, and Bach’s research reads like a novel." - The Providence Journal

TRANSCRIPT, Ordinary Injustice, Amy Bach by Neil Gillespie

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