Bob Morris Book Review – Blogging on Business

in their names: The Untold Story of Victims’ Rights, Mass Incarceration, and the Future of Public Safety
eleanor anderson
The New Press (November 2022)

Why we really need to SEE all victims and build a safer society on their behalf

If read with the patience and attention this brilliant book deserves, it will be (for most people) one of the most unpleasant experiences they will ever have. Why? It focuses on issues that have been discussed but not resolved for decades: victims’ rights, mass incarceration, and public safety.

What does Lenore Anderson think? On the rights of victims, see pages 6-7, 29-47, 74-76 and 273-274; on mass incarceration, see pages 13-16, 46-47, 117-118, and 128-131; and on public safety, see pages 187-191, 195-213, 231-241, 251-266 and 271-273.

Here are some of the other passages that also caught my eye, listed to suggest the extent of Anderson’s extensive coverage:

o Cycle of trauma (Pages 3-4, 16-17 and 151-173)
o Victim care and compensation programs (8-9, 76-80, 91-99, 212-23 and 255-257)
o Trauma of the criminal justice system (16-17, 51-54, 84-85, 1@0-1@1, 174-191, 248-250 and 257-261)
o Juvenile prisons (16-17, 120-121, 174-176 and 187-188)
o Criminal Justice (17-20, 187-191, 231-236, 239-241, 2623-264 and 272-273)

o Heavy-Duty Crime Movement and Policies: California (25-29, 33-42, 45-46, 137-141, and 231-232)
o Sentence (34-35, 39-40, 43-45, 74-77, 135-141 and 141-144)
o African-American experiences (57-62, 65-68, 69-73 and 123-125)
o Innocence: false dichotomies and hierarchies (99-103 and 160-164)
o Mass surveillance and surveillance of public order (100-113) 113-116 and 119-122)

o Cleveland, Ohio (107-113 and 123-125)
o Adverse childhood experiences (154-157 and 169-170)
o Community public security (167-169, 200-2003, 206-213, 236-238 and 241-245)
o Public security: future of a new security movement (187-191, 195-213, 231-230 and 271-273)
o Trauma recovery for all (195-213)

Anderson explains WHAT needs to be done. Once people read this book and understand it, I hope that they will be receptive to knowing the HOW and be drawn to the WHY.

I urge readers of this brilliant book to highlight key passages and keep a lined notebook handy to jot down your comments, questions, page references, etc. These two simple tactics can make it easier, and indeed speed up, frequent review of key material later on.

Here are some of Lenore Anderson’s final thoughts: “The main barrier to investing in these solutions at the scale needed is fundamentally a political barrier. As crime rates change, politicians too often look for simple solutions that generate headlines. They typically revolve around increased investments in the same criminal justice bureaucracies that have grown exponentially in the last forty years. But those kinds of solutions will generate the same dynamic that we have already seen.”

Albert Einstein once defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again, in the same way, and then expecting different results. That said, never underestimate the power of those who are sane but unprincipled…driven solely by greed and ambition. When asked to support solutions to issues around victims’ rights, mass incarceration, and public safety, they have only one question on their minds: “What’s in it for me?”

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