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."