Jonathan Simon

jonathan simonJonathan Simon is a professor of law at UC Berkeley and associate dean of the Berkeley’s Jurisprudence and Social Policy program. An expert in criminal justice issues, he is the author of two books, "Poor Discipline," on the history of the prison parole system, and "Governing Through Crime: How the War on Crime Transformed American Democracy and Created a Culture of Fear." Both received a distinguished book award from the American Sociological Association. An active blogger, he posts frequently on his own site, “Governing Through Crime, and as a guest commentator on other blogs.

Capital Punishment’s Loyal Officer

Alito Defends Death Penalty

Jonathan Simon: The real guerilla war is being waged by death states that continue to pursue executions even as crime remains at historic lows and public opinion turns against this archaic ritual.

Time to Reinvent the Police

Reinvent the Police

Jonathan Simon: We need something like the police, but not “the police” as we’ve known them. Police are important, but they are not like air. We can live without them when that is necessary. And we can reinvent them.

Ferguson and Human Dignity

Michael Brown Left on Street

Jonathan Simon: Human dignity arose on the streets of Ferguson, hovering over Michael Brown’s body, growing ever larger as that body was degraded in the hot sun. Not his soul or his ghost, but the specter of the humanity he shared with all of us.

California’s Broken Punishment Paradigm

California Death Penalty Overturned

Jonathan Simon: Judge Carney reviewed California’s system, which has handed out around 900 death sentences but only executed 13 people, and concluded that the system was unconstitutionally arbitrary because no rational basis exists distinguishing those actually executed from many not, and likely never, executed.

Botched Execution

mary-fallin-590

Jonathan Simon: Where Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and the state’s legislators wrote the book on botched is on the “carelessly” branch of the term.

California Needs Fresh Start in Corrections

Jeffrey Beard

Jonathan Simon: Secretary Beard’s public statements since coming to the job reflect a complete failure to acknowledge the gravity of the human rights abuses his agency is guilty of and an apparent commitment to defend the status quo at any cost.

Run Snowden, Run!

snowden

Jonathan Simon: In the age of Bush and Obama, American punishments reflect a level of viciousness and degradation that no principled person should be willing to accept for themselves or others.

Hunger Strike

pelican bay

Jonathan Simon: In California’s SHU, scores of prisoners have served more than twenty years of such conditions, and hundreds for more than ten.