Law professor’s book named on New York Times’ ‘10 Best of 2017’

Photo of the cover of the book titled “Locking Up Our Own.”

The New York Times selected James Forman Jr.’s “Locking Up Our Own” as one of the “10 Best Books of 2017.”

Forman joins Richard O. Prum, the William Robertson Coe Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, as one of two Yale faculty members represented on the list. Prum is the author of “The Evolution of Beauty.”

In “Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America,” Forman explores why many African-American leaders in the nation’s urban centers supported the “war on crime” that began in the 1970s. He contends that many prominent black officials feared that the gains of the civil rights movement were being undermined by lawlessness — and thus embraced tough-on-crime measures, including longer sentences and aggressive police tactics. In its citation, the Times described the book as “a masterly account.”

Forman is a professor of law at Yale Law School, where he teaches and writes in the areas of criminal procedure and criminal law policy, constitutional law, juvenile justice, and education law and policy. He served as a public defender for six years in Washington, D.C., representing both juveniles and adults charged with crimes. He co-founded the Maya Angelou Public Charter School, an alternative school for dropouts and youth who had previously been arrested.