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All Quotes by author - James Forman, Jr.
" A black man of my generation born in the late 1960s is more than twice as likely to go to prison in his lifetime then a black man of my father's generation. I was born after the Voting Rights Act, after the Civil Rights Act, after the Fair Housing Act. "
" Actually creating a positive school climate, particularly in schools that are in communities that are themselves not calm and orderly, is hard work. "
" African-Americans have always viewed the protection of black lives as a civil rights issue, whether the threat comes from police officers or street criminals. Far from ignoring the issue of crime by blacks against other blacks, African-American officials and their constituents have been consumed by it. "
" Attica. The name itself has long signified resistance to prison abuse and state violence. "
" How come we never use prison, the failure of prison, as a reason not to give more prison? There's never a moment where we say, 'OK, well, prison hasn't worked, so we're not going to try that again.' "
" I clerked for a judge, William Norris, on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals right after law school and then for Justice O'Connor the next year. "
" I find it very frustrating how much passing the buck there is in the criminal justice system when it comes to taking responsibility for outcomes. "
" I had gone to law school thinking that I would do something in the service of black people. "
" In court, judges tell people that their conviction carries a sentence of years, or probation. The truth is far more terrible. People convicted of crimes often become social outcasts for life, finding it difficult or impossible to rent an apartment, get a job, adopt children, access public benefits, serve on juries, or vote. "
" In terms of addressing crime issues in the black community, the dominant political class has historically refused to endorse the full slate of reforms along lines of education, economic security, housing, etc, necessary to address the root causes. "
" I think I've always had that orientation to try to understand the humanity behind people with whom I disagree. "
" Mass incarceration and its never-ending human toll will be with us until we come to see that no crime justifies permanent civic death. "
" Mass incarceration is the result of small, distinct steps, each of whose significance becomes more apparent over time, and only when considered in light of later events. "
" Mass incarceration will have to be dismantled the same way it was constructed: piecemeal, incrementally and, above all, locally. "
" Most people that take jobs as police officers are taking them because they're good jobs. Many who go into these jobs are doing it because it's good work. "
" One consequence of racism and segregation is that many American whites know little or nothing about the daily lives of African Americans. Black America's least-understood communities are those poor, hyper-segregated places we once called ghettos. These neighborhoods are not far away, but they might as well be on the moon. "
" Our system never treated the failure of prison as a reason not to try more prison. "
" Prosecutors committed to reform need talented staff members who share that commitment, and our best legal talent should flock to their offices. "
" The fundamental problem for the teaching profession is how undervalued it is and how underpaid teachers are. "
" The only news most people ever hear about the inner city comes from grim headlines; the only residents they can name are characters on 'The Wire.' Of course, ignorance of a community doesn't stop outsiders from having opinions about it or passing laws that govern it. "
" There can be racism in a system even if a particular episode of injustice is not a manifestation of that racism. Every single thing in the criminal justice system is not a manifestation of racism, but many things are. "
" We must continue to recruit progressive prosecutors to run in local elections, support those who do, and hold them accountable if they win. "
" We need to hire more black police officers in this country because these are good jobs, and African Americans should have their fair share of good jobs. But we shouldn't do it because we think that's going to change policing. We have to push for police reform in other ways. "
" What if we strove for compassion, for mercy, for forgiveness? And what if we did this for everybody, including people who have harmed others? "
" While mass incarceration is a national crisis, it was built locally. "
" You can get rid of the teacher certification requirements, and you're still not going to have a rush of incredibly high-quality people going into teaching as long as teachers are valued in the way they currently are. The way we value people is by how much we pay them. "
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