Charged (Digital Audiobook)
The New Movement to Transform American Prosecution and End Mass Incarceration
Publication Date: April 8, 2019
“An important, thoughtful, and thorough examination of criminal justice in America that speaks directly to how we reduce mass incarceration.”—Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy
“This harrowing, often enraging book is a hopeful one, as well, profiling innovative new approaches and the frontline advocates who champion them.”—Matthew Desmond, author of Evicted
FINALIST FOR THE LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE • SHORTLISTED FOR THE J. ANTHONY LUKAS BOOK PRIZE • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR • The New York Public Library • Library Journal • Publishers Weekly • Kirkus Reviews
The American criminal justice system is supposed to be a contest between two equal adversaries, the prosecution and the defense, with judges ensuring a fair fight. That image of the law does not match the reality in the courtroom, however. Much of the time, it is prosecutors more than judges who control the outcome of a case, from choosing the charge to setting bail to determining the plea bargain. They often decide who goes free and who goes to prison, even who lives and who dies. In Charged, Emily Bazelon reveals how this kind of unchecked power is the underreported cause of enormous injustice—and the missing piece in the mass incarceration puzzle.
Charged follows the story of two young people caught up in the criminal justice system: Kevin, a twenty-year-old in Brooklyn who picked up his friend’s gun as the cops burst in and was charged with a serious violent felony, and Noura, a teenage girl in Memphis indicted for the murder of her mother. Bazelon tracks both cases—from arrest and charging to trial and sentencing—and, with her trademark blend of deeply reported narrative, legal analysis, and investigative journalism, illustrates just how criminal prosecutions can go wrong and, more important, why they don’t have to.
Bazelon also details the second chances they prosecutors can extend, if they choose, to Kevin and Noura and so many others. She follows a wave of reform-minded D.A.s who have been elected in some of our biggest cities, as well as in rural areas in every region of the country, put in office to do nothing less than reinvent how their job is done. If they succeed, they can point the country toward a different and profoundly better future.
About the Author
EMILY BAZELON is a staff writer for The New York Times Magazine and the Truman Capote Fellow for Creative Writing and Law at Yale Law School. She is the bestselling author of Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy and a co-host of the weekly Slate podcast, Political Gabfest. Before joining the Times Magazine, Bazelon was a writer and editor for nine years at Slate, where she co-founded the women's section DoubleX. Bazelon has previously been a Soros media fellow and has worked as an editor and writer at Legal Affairs magazine and as a law clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit. She has appeared on The Colbert Report, Fresh Air,Morning Edition, All Things Considered, the Today show, the PBS NewsHour, and Morning Joe. Her work has appeared in the Atlantic, This American Life, Vogue, O: The Oprah Magazine, and the Washington Post, among other publications. She is a graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School.