James Forman, Jr.

Thursday, December 13, 2018, 7:30 pm
Venue: Nourse Theater

Series: Cultural Studies

James Forman, Jr. teaches and writes in the areas of criminal procedure and criminal law policy, constitutional law, juvenile justice, and education law and policy. His particular interests are schools, prisons, and police, and those institutions’ race and class dimensions. Professor Forman’s first book, Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America was awarded the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction.

Forman attended public schools in Detroit and New York City before graduating from the Atlanta Public Schools. After attending Brown University and Yale Law School, he 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, D.C., where for six years he represented both juveniles and adults charged with crimes. During his time as a public defender, Professor Forman became frustrated with the lack of education and job training opportunities for his clients. So in 1997, along with David Domenici, he started the Maya Angelou Public Charter School, an alternative school for school dropouts and youth who had previously been arrested. A decade later, in 2007, Maya Angelou School expanded and agreed to run the school inside D.C.’s juvenile prison.

Forman taught at Georgetown Law from 2003 to 2011, when he joined the Yale faculty. 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.

Lara Bazelon is an associate professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law, where she directs the Criminal & Juvenile Justice and Racial Justice Clinics.  Before that, she worked as a deputy federal public defender and the director of a Los Angeles-based innocence project.  She is the author of Rectify: The Power of Restorative Justice After Wrongful Conviction, and a contributing writer for Slate. Her work has also appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Politico.