Tagged: poverty

Has the Culture of Adversarialness Gone Too Far?

The adversarial system may be the best way for a society to adjudicate criminal charges to a result that will warrant public trust. But sometimes it feels like the US culture of adversarialness is just that – a pervasive method of dealing with everything that comes our way, and not simply in the courtroom. Our current political scene is certainly a reflection of that, as is the political gridlock.

A recent op-ed in the New York Times, titled President Obama’s Department of Injustice by Alec Karakatsanis, raises the question of whether our historical reliance on adversarialness – its intentional use for a good societal purpose – may have become reflexive, or unthinking, or may have simply gone too far.

manatory minimums

On a similar topic, another example of cultural over-reaction, take a moment to view the July 26th episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, in which Mr. Oliver addresses the phenomenon of mandatory minimum sentencing and President Obama’s recent grants (and denials) of clemency to some low level offenders serving mandatory minimums.  In doing so, he “explains why we treat some turkeys better than most low-level offenders.”

Municipal Violations, Fines, Privatized Probation, and Race


Revelations that Ferguson, Mo. subjected its most vulnerable citizens to criminal fines as a partial solution to its budget needs prompted comedian John Oliver to more fully explore the ramifications of such practices. Check it out!