Salisbury Forum Presents “Locking Up Our Own”

Since the 1970s a grossly disproportionate number of African-American men have become caught up in the criminal justice system.  James Forman, Professor of Law at Yale Law School and author of Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America which won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction, will be the speaker at the next Salisbury Forum on Friday, November 15.  The program will begin at 7:30 at the Hotchkiss School, Route 112, Lakeville, CT.   Following the presentation, there will be a Q&A session with the speaker.

In the 70s, 80s, and 90s many African-American police chiefs, elected officials, and activists lobbied for more punitive measures to fight gun violence and drug dealing in their own communities.  These leaders also argued for job opportunities, housing programs, and improvements in education.   Unfortunately they didn’t know that the response to fighting crime would result in a problem more grievous than the ones they were trying to solve–mass incarceration.

After attending Brown University and Yale Law School, Forman worked as a law clerk for Judge William Norris of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor of the U. S. Supreme Court.  After clerking, he joined the Public Defender Service in Washington, DC, where for six years he represented both juveniles and adults charged with crimes.

At Yale, he teaches Constitutional Law;  a seminar called Race, Class and Punishment; and a seminar called Inside Out:  Issues in Criminal Justice in which Yale law students study alongside men incarcerated in a Connecticut prison.  He is a co-founder of an alternative charter school for dropouts in Washington and the son of the Civil Rights leader of the same name.

All Salisbury Forum programs are free and everyone is invited. For more information, visit


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