Defenders bear witness to an awful social experiment gone awry. Punishment has taken the place of every other intervention because it is so simple. It divides the world neatly into good people and bad, the worthy and unworthy, victims and perpetrators. Once we punish the bad, the unworthy, the perpetrators, the rest of us can rest easy. We can say that we are different from them. We can wag our finger at them and assert our moral superiority. In this social and political climate, hardly anyone ever asks why. Why did this man or woman end up this way? What were the forces that contributed to his or her downfall? The only question is how much punishment should be imposed. It is remarkable that in this post-modern era - when so much is known about crime and violence - the best that we can do is to put millions of people in cages.
18 Notre Dame J.L. Ethics & Pol'y 451-463 (2004)
Scholarly Commons Citation
Smith, Abbe, "The Burdens of Representing the Accused in an Age of Harsh Punishment" (2004). Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works. Paper 561.