James Forman Jr.

marlene lopez

James Forman, Jr. is a professor of law at Yale Law School. He has written for The New York Times, The Atlantic, numerous law reviews, and other publications. A former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, he spent six years as a public defender in Washington, D.C., where he cofounded the Maya Angelou Public Charter School. In Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), a nominee for the National Book Award in nonfiction, he explains why the war on crime that began in the 1970s was supported by many African American leaders in the nation’s urban centers, and how that support would have devastating consequences for residents of poor black neighborhoods. Locking Up Our Own enriches our understanding of why our society became so punitive and offers important lessons to anyone concerned about the future of race and the criminal justice system in this country.