Going To Jail as a Civic Duty

I was struck by an op-ed in the L.A. Times by novelist Jesse Ball in which he suggests that serving on jury duty may not be enough to fulfill our civic duty. His idea is that every 10 years we would be called to serve time at a prison. Just like most prisoners today we would not know which prison or for how long. He says anywhere from 3 to 90 days. Our lives would be disrupted just as that of those being incarcerated. We would be subject to all the prison’s regulations and to the way guards treat inmates. In short for that indeterminate period of time we would be just as any other Continue reading “Going To Jail as a Civic Duty”

Implicit Bias

Implicit bias refers to beliefs that unconsciously drive decisions and behavior. They obviously become part of what lies behind racism. As far as the judicial system goes, racist behavior has been studied with juries, judges and prosecutors, those who put people away. Now there is growing awareness that this can be extended to public defenders as well. They apparently spend less time with defendants of color. Implicit bias is exacerbated by stress, exhaustion and speed, three of the things that affect public defenders. It’s not only the amount of time a public defender may spend with a defendant, implicit bias can affect Continue reading “Implicit Bias”