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John Pfaff @JohnFPfaff
, 10 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
1. Earlier this week, the National Police Association filed a bar complaint against incoming Boston DA Rachael Rollins for her pledge to generally avoid prosecuting 15 lower-level crimes.

The complaint (…) is… underwhelming, but nonetheless important.
2. One of the most insightful books I’ve read recently is Breaking the Pendulum (…) by Goodman, Page, and @MichelleSPhelps.

It’s a deep look at the constant struggles between “reforms” and “law and order” that have defined the history of American CJ.
3. The oversimplified summary (Twitter!): progressive/tough-on-crime advocates constantly struggle, and periods of “reform” or “reaction” occur when macro-level shifts (economy, politics, crime) change the balance of power between them.
4. Periods of change don’t come out of the blue. During reactionary periods, reformers lay the groundwork to move when macro shifts favor them (see the exploitation of the 2008 budget crisis). Tough-on-crimers do the same during reform periods.

This is where the NPA fits in.
5. The actual claims in the complaint are… longer than long shots. (She’s accused of violating an ABA rule against improper bias for proposing a policy to… fight racial bias.)

But this is a political move, not a legal one. The NPA is laying the groundwork for reaction.
6. We already see this happening—it’s why I take such a dour tone in my recent piece in @americamag (…). Anti-reformers are already exploiting rises in crime/isolated events to roll back reforms.

Seeing this in 2020 w CA too, surely elsewhere.
7. This is why I’ve opposed mainstream reform justifying decarceration along lines of “crime keeps falling, so let’s keep cutting prisons.” It ties reform to current conditions, doesn’t prepare to resist the arguments that will attach to that inevitable future rise in crime.
8. So it’s easy to brush off this NPA complaint (which is 6 pages long and doesn’t mention an MA rule of any sort until about page 4).

But this isn’t a legal complaint. It’s a political move, part of a broader, on-going reaction to reform that demands serious attention.
9. Mass incarceration wasn’t an accident. There are clear political and institutional reasons it happened.

Yet almost zero reforms have sought to change the underlying politics/design. We’re just cramming new laws thru the same broken system that gave us 1.5M ppl in prison.
10. The economic pains that brought in some conservative support won’t last forever. Crime will inevitably go up, or at least there will be enough Horton-esque events to cause concern.

It’s essential to start preparing for those turns; that’s what the NPA is def trying to do.
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