1619 Interviews – Alexandra Natapoff on the Misdemeanor System

Professor Alexandra Natapoff discusses her book, Punishment without Crime. How America’s Misdemeanor justice system targets the innocent, taxes the poor, and generates revenue for the public and private sector. We discuss why people plead guilty to low level infractions and how that impacts minority and at-risk populations.

Alexandra Natapoff, Lee S. Kreindler Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, is an award-winning legal scholar and criminal justice expert. Her book Punishment Without Crime: How Our Massive Misdemeanor System Traps the Innocent and Makes America More Unequal (Basic Books) reveals the powerful influence that misdemeanors exert over the U.S. criminal system. Her book Snitching: Criminal Informants and the Erosion of American Justice (NYU Press), won the ABA Silver Gavel Award Honorable Mention for Books: her original work on criminal informants has made her an international expert.

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