Recent good reads in criminal-justice journalism, with an emphasis on longform narrative stories and original reporting about crime, crime victims, and reforms in sentencing and prisons:
- James Verini‘s tale of bravery and adventure at the point of a gun takes the reader inside a Somali-piracy case, showing the terrorized crew’s trauma through nearly four years of captivity. The crew of the Albedo was captured at the height of Somalia’s piracy problem, which Verini shows in all its cold, profit-minded cruelty. (The New Yorker)
- Eli Saslow‘s daring, original writing turns this story of one police officer’s firing into a tense tale of small-town racism. (Washington Post)
- Charles Blair shows how dismissing Timothy McVeigh as simply evil or crazy misses the real meaning of what happened before, during, and after McVeigh’s attack on the Oklahoma City federal building 20 years ago. (Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists)
- On the 20th anniversary of the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building, a team of Tulsa World reporters and photojournalists produced this deeply moving package of reports on the victims and the aftermath of that infamous terror attack.
- Here’s the backstory to, and a preview of, Jon Krakauer‘s latest: Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town. (Wall Street Journal) And here’s Janet Maslin’s review of the book, which she reports was rushed to print after the Rolling Stone debacle. (New York Times)
- This year’s Pulitzer Prizes honor some notable criminal-justice journalism: The big prize, Public Service, went to the Charleston Post-Courier for its series on domestic violence (I blogged about it here). The Houston Chronicle‘s Lisa Falkenberg won for Commentary on Texas’ grand jury system (something of a misnomer, considering how deeply reported her stories were). And the St. Louis Post-Dispatch won the Breaking-News Photography prize for its coverage of the protests in Ferguson, Missouri.
On the blog:
- I critiqued Mother Jones‘ important report on the costs of gun violence. The story’s focus is on dollars, as that is the least-often told side of the story, but the victim stories in the report were powerful reminders of how much money and pain gun victims suffer.
- I examined the questions about justice and victims’ rights prompted by the announcement by the family of Martin Richard, the youngest victim killed in the Boston Marathon bombing, publicly opposing the death penalty for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
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