Fall 1996

Our Brothers Keepers

Our Brothers’ Keepers Search and Destroy: African-American Males in the Criminal Justice System By Jerome Miller Cambridge University Press, 1996, 304 pages, $24.95 Violence: Our Deadly Epidemic and Its Causes By James Gilligan A Grossett/Putnam Book, 1996, 306 pages, $28.95 Tonight, 700,000 African-American men will be locked up in some local jail, or state or(...)

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Loose Threads

Not far from a ragged basketball court squeezed between two sidestreets just off Dorchester Ave., you could sense the boredom, the chronic misjudgements, the drifting spirit of urban life as easily as you could sense the gathering chill in the late autumn breeze. Two young adults approached, one lanky, the other of slighter stature. The(...)

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Two More Towns Scuttle Town Meeting

Seldom does one hear the argument that since the state legislature doesn’t work very well, we should do away with it. Seldom does a city saddled with a clownish city council entertain the notion that the council should be abolished. But in local politics the town meeting form of government is always open to question.(...)

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Reading 300 Years of Minutes

PLYMOUTH–Laurence Pizer, town clerk, wears the look of a man who has just been interrupted from a good book and has noticed suddenly the glare of bright sunlight. Behind his wire-rimmed spectacles, Mr. Pizer’s eyes tend to squint as he consider questions, though more often than not the squinting comes just before a wry smile.(...)

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Counterpoints

Charles Baker is right that welfare needs fixing, and he’s right that states (on average) are better innovators than Washington. If that ended the story, block grants might indeed beat the recent alternative of state experimentation within national guidelines. But there’s more to it than he concedes. “Things can’t get worse” is a testable hypothesis.(...)

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Crime Control

Total number of sworn police officers in state and local law enforcement agencies (1992) Rank State (Top 25, plus New England) Total number of officers Total number of officers per 10,000 residents 1. DC 4,396 74.2 2. New York 58,204 32.1 3. New Jersey 23,807 30.6 4. Illinois 30,694 26.4 5. Maryland 12,082 24.6 6.(...)

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Argument

Before heading off to Chicago for the Democratic Convention this summer, President Clinton had to decide whether to sign the welfare reform legislation sent to him by Congress. In the end, the President chose to support a block grant approach to welfare reform and sign the bill, thereby allowing state governments to create a multitude(...)

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Vermont Puts Nonviolent Criminals to Work

Building contractor Jeff Goodwin is standing in front of the glittering surface of the municipal pool in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. While teen-agers take turns diving into the rumpled iridescent water and younger children wade in the shallow end, Goodwin points out renovations done to the pavilion, a neat little cedar-shingled structure that is maintained by(...)

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