Overby Center Offers a Critical Look at the Justice System

Author James Forman, Jr. is pictured here in a PBS interview with Tavis Smiley.

James Forman Jr., the author of a new book arguing that law enforcement initiatives by black officials have had devastating consequences for black communities, will be featured in the final program of the fall at the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics on the University of Mississippi campus at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 14.

The event is free and open to the public, and arrangements for free parking have been made for the parking lot just outside the Overby Auditorium. A reception will be held afterward.

Forman, a Yale Law School professor, is the son of one of the leading figures in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. His father, Jim Forman, was a leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), became an active figure in Mississippi during Freedom Summer in 1964, and later developed a “Black Manifesto” that was widely circulated. A half-century later, Forman’s son has broken with the philosophy held by many black leaders who advocated strong penalties for defendants in criminal cases, especially those ensnared by drug arrests.

In his book, “Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America,” Forman writes that mass incarceration tactics have had a disproportionate impact on people of color in this country. In a front-page review in the New York Times Book Review earlier this year, the book was described as a “masterly account” of the role played by black elected officials to deal with rising crime and drug use in Washington with harsh sentences. As the policy spread to other locales, Forman says, it raised serious questions about its fairness and efficiency.

 
For the Overby Center program, Forman will take part in a conversation with Tucker Carrington, director of the Innocence Program at the Ole Miss Law School.
 
“We believe it will be a provocative program and a strong way to wind up our fall series,” said Overby Fellow Curtis Wilkie.

Special to HottyToddy.com.

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