Yale law professor and legal scholar James Forman Jr. visits Brandeis Law

Cedric Powell and James Forman Jr.
Brandeis Law Professor Cedric Merlin Powell moderates a Q&A session after Professor James Forman Jr.'s lecture.

Decisions by African-American elected officials to respond to crime in their communities by allocating resources to police and prosecutors — rather than to education, mental health care or other social services — have "built the prison nation that we've become." 

That was a message from Yale Law School professor and legal scholar James Forman Jr., who visited the Brandeis School of Law April 5, 2018.

Forman is the author of 2017's Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America. That book examines a prominent group of African-American elected officials who took office during a crime surge in urban areas. Forman explores how those leaders' punitive reactions to the rise in crime led to devastation for lower-income neighborhoods of color.

Brandeis Law first-year student Emily Pinerola attended the lecture and says she found it engaging. Pinerola is hoping to pursue a career in the criminal defense field and plans on reading Forman's book.

The event was sponsored by several departments at the University of Louisville:

  • College of Arts & Sciences:
    • Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research
    • Department of Criminal Justice
    • Department of Pan-African Studies
    • Dean’s Office
    • Liberal Studies Program
  • Kent School of Social Work
  • Office of Diversity and International Affairs
See a video of Forman's presentation below.