October 14, 2014
My review of Naomi Murakawa's The First Civil Right: How Liberals Built Prison America, has just appeared in Alternet. You can read an excerpt below, and the entire piece is here.
Between 1968 and 1976, there were no executions in the United States. Death penalty abolition was seen as such a common-sense measure it appeared in the 1972 Democratic Party Platform. In 1988, only three types of crime were punishable by the death penalty, but by 1994, that number had ballooned to 66. It is tempting to surmise that this came about because of an increased conservative tide toward the institution of the death penalty, but Murakawa shows that, over the years, the Democrats sought to up their stakes in the law and order game.