The Fordham Urban Law Journal is proud to present “City Square,” the Journal‘s online companion. City Square is a competitive and lively arena showcasing meaningful discourse between the nation’s top legal scholars. City Square features five literary discussions at a time and is regularly updated with new content. Enjoy the literary discussions as they unfold and stay tuned! City Square Responses and Replies are permanently published on urbanlawjournal.com. We also hope to make City Square available on Westlaw, LexisNexis, and HeinOnline soon.
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Tom R. Tyler* & Jeffrey A. Fagan**Φ
This is a moment for the reconsideration of policing in America. In that effort we should examine the successes and failures of policing over the last several decades. We should also ask what works and what does not work in policing today. And, perhaps most importantly we need to explore what policing should be about in the 21st century.
While there are disagreements about all of these issues, there is widespread agreement that this is a pivotal moment in American policing. The last similar period of reexamination was the 1960’s when the Kerner Commission wrote an influential report on American policing following a period of widespread urban unrest. As was true at that moment many long held assumptions about the purposes and methods of policing were questioned.
Every era presents the police, the courts and the criminal justice system more generally, with distinct issues. We are emerging from an historical period during which a key law enforcement concern was the control of violent crime. We should first remind ourselves that the backdrop of current policing models lies in the high levels of crime in over three decades starting in the 1960s, and the feelings of disorder and fear that these high crime levels created in many American communities. For many in policing reductions in the level of crime have been the primary or even the sole criterion against which policies and practices were evaluated.
For over two decades, the level of violent crime has steadily declined, at least in part due to the police. At the same time, the police have generally become more professional and effective, as documented in the 2004 report of the National Academy of Sciences. There is a lot to be proud of in American policing and in the role the police played in meeting the challenges of this earlier era.
Today, violent crime is at historically low levels and has remained so for the past decade. This creates an opportunity to rethink the goals of policing as we move forward in the 21st century. In rethinking these goals, we believe that it is particularly important to focus attention on building public trust and confidence in the police, and in turn, to enhance police legitimacy.
Why should police legitimacy be a central concern in discussions about criminal justice? First, the police are the central point of contact between the public and the criminal justice system. While people deal with the courts on occasion, the overwhelming majority of their contacts are with police officers. Hence, it is police policies and practices that define law to the average person, as well as to those involved in repeated encounters with the criminal justice system.
By Vinh Hua
San Francisco is currently the site of a number of major battles over gentrification, as residents, developers, tech companies, tech professionals, and landlords fight for their interests in both the court of law and public opinion.
San Francisco has become the most expensive city to live in the United States, even beating out Manhattan. The city has skyrocketing rents, as the growth of the tech-sector creates a burgeoning population of well-paid tech-sector employees. These professionals have driven demand for rental units through the roof, with rental prices soon following. A perfect storm of limited housing stock, market pressures, and transportation improvements allowing San Francisco neighborhoods to become more accessible to commuters, has made San Francisco the fastest gentrifying city in the United States. (more…)
The Urban Law Journal, in partnership with the Feerick Center for Social Justice, will select a Fordham Law student for the George J. McMahon Fellowship. Eligible students include rising 2Ls or 3Ls working in public interest or government organizations, preferably outside of New York for the summer. The student will produce a written work on issues related to his or her research and work for the organization. The Fellowship provides a $5,000 stipend, and the recipient will work with next year’s ULJ editors to prepare the paper for publication in the ULJ.
Please view more information by clicking on the “Fellowships and Other Funding” link in the drop-down menu “About the Journal” above.
Deadline to submit an application: Monday, March 16, 2015 at 5:00 PM.
One of the frequently criticized aspects of American mass incarceration, privatized incarceration, is frequently considered worse, by definition, than public incarceration for both philosophical-ethical reasons and because its for-profit structure creates a disincentive to invest in improving prison conditions. Relying on literature about the neoliberal state and on insights from public choice economics, this Article sets out to challenge the distinction between public and private incarceration, making two main arguments: piecemeal privatization of functions, utilities, and services within state prisons make them operate more like private facilities, and public actors respond to the cost/benefit pressures of the market just like private ones. (more…)