Monday, November 26, 2012

Court Reform on Trial


One of the more enjoyable assignments I have had of late was provided to me by the good folks at Quid Pro Books, who asked me to write the foreword for a new edition of Malcolm Feeley's Court Reform on Trial: Why Simple Solutions Fail.  I was flattered by the ask.  I am a big fan of Feeley's work, which also includes the classic The Process Is The Punishment.

It was a pleasure to be given an excuse to re-read Court Reform on Trial, which was one of the few books that directly influenced Trial & Error in Criminal Justice Reform.  As a teaser to encourage sales of the reprint when it becomes available, I offer this small taste of Feeley's prose from Court Reform on Trial:

"Whatever one's goals, there is a tendency to expect too much of the courts.  Higher standards can lead to improvements, but exaggerated expectations can also foster disillusionment...Courts cannot solve the problem of crime or event make a significant dent in it.  Thus, in a very real sense the courts -- charged with handling society's failures -- will always fail.  What the family, the church, the workplace, and the school cannot do, neither can the courts."