Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Classic of Law & Society



As promised, Quid Pro Books has put one of my all-time favorite books back into print: Malcolm Feeley's classic Court Reform on Trial: Why Simple Solutions Fail.  (The e-book is available now.  Paperback will be available later this week.  I will share a link when it comes online.)

I was honored to be asked to write a brief foreword to this new edition.  Here's a short excerpt:
You might think a book devoted to failed court reform efforts would be a grim read.  But it isn't. Feeley's text is brimming with energy not resignation.  In sifting through the impacts and unintended consequences of a range of "planned change" efforts, Feeley offers reformers both sympathy (the obstacles to change are enormous) and hope (if we create more realistic expectations, it will be easier to recognize success).  My copy of Court Reform on Trial bears the marks of my endorsement.  Almost every page is heavily underlined and full of marginal exclamations.
Off the top of my head, I can't think of a book I would recommend more highly to anyone who is interested in reforming practice in the criminal justice system.  Any similarities between Feeley's book and Trial & Error in Criminal Justice Reform: Learning from Failure are purely intentional -- I took a lot of inspiration from Feeley.

I'm not sure I will ever fully repay my intellectual debt to Feeley, but I hope to at least partially accomplish this goal by helping Court Reform on Trial find a new audience.  Do yourself a favor and buy this book!