What We Are Reading Today: Privilege and Punishment by Matthew Clair

What We Are Reading Today: Privilege and Punishment by Matthew Clair
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Updated 27 November 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Privilege and Punishment by Matthew Clair

What We Are Reading Today: Privilege and Punishment by Matthew Clair

The number of Americans arrested, brought to court, and incarcerated has skyrocketed in recent decades. Criminal defendants come from all races and economic walks of life, but they experience punishment in vastly different ways. Privilege and Punishment examines how racial and class inequalities are embedded in the attorney-client relationship, providing a devastating portrait of inequality and injustice within and beyond the criminal courts.

Matthew Clair conducted extensive fieldwork in the Boston court system, attending criminal hearings and interviewing defendants, lawyers, judges, police officers, and probation officers. In this eye-opening book, he uncovers how privilege and inequality play out in criminal court interactions.

When disadvantaged defendants try to learn their legal rights and advocate for themselves, lawyers and judges often silence, coerce, and punish them. Privileged defendants, who are more likely to trust their defense attorneys, delegate authority to their lawyers, defer to judges, and are rewarded for their compliance.

Clair shows how attempts to exercise legal rights often backfire on the poor and on working-class people of color, and how effective legal representation alone is no guarantee of justice.

Superbly written and powerfully argued, Privilege and Punishment draws needed attention to the injustices that are perpetuated by the attorney-client relationship in today’s criminal courts, and describes the reforms needed to correct them.


UK initiative returns with MENA art in focus

The Friday Hangout: MENA Arts UK Takeover will begin on Feb. 5 when Sally El-Hosaini, a director who has won awards for her film “My Brother The Devil” at London, Berlin and Sundance film festivals, will speak to audiences via Zoom. (The Arab British Centre)
The Friday Hangout: MENA Arts UK Takeover will begin on Feb. 5 when Sally El-Hosaini, a director who has won awards for her film “My Brother The Devil” at London, Berlin and Sundance film festivals, will speak to audiences via Zoom. (The Arab British Centre)
Updated 21 January 2021

UK initiative returns with MENA art in focus

The Friday Hangout: MENA Arts UK Takeover will begin on Feb. 5 when Sally El-Hosaini, a director who has won awards for her film “My Brother The Devil” at London, Berlin and Sundance film festivals, will speak to audiences via Zoom. (The Arab British Centre)
  • Program will feature established artists with links to region
  • Organizers emphasize need for cultural community amid pandemic

LONDON: Artists, actors and writers from across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) will take part in the latest instalment of an initiative set up to provide a sense of cultural community during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Arab British Centre and MENA Arts UK will collaborate to deliver a series of online talks by established creators that will give the public a chance to ask them questions directly, and the creators an opportunity to reflect on their work during the pandemic.

The Friday Hangout: MENA Arts UK Takeover will begin on Feb. 5 when Sally El-Hosaini, a director who has won awards for her film “My Brother The Devil” at London, Berlin and Sundance film festivals, will speak to audiences via Zoom.

In the following weeks, award-winning writers and actors — including BAFTA winner Amir El-Masry — will also take part in the program.

This year’s program is the second in the Hangout series, the first of which was introduced early in the pandemic in 2020.

MENA Arts UK was formed last year to celebrate Britain-based artists with a connection to the region.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the incredible response to our launch last year, and are so excited to be partnering with the Arab British Centre,” said Laura Hanna, a member of MENA Arts UK’s steering group.

“This Takeover means we can create and open up conversations around the work of MENA+ artists for a wider audience.”

The Arab British Centre is a cultural organization that regularly hosts and takes part in events celebrating and fostering cultural connections between the UK and the Arab world.

“We are delighted to be bringing back our Friday Hangout series with our friends at MENA Arts UK,” said Amani Hassan, acting executive director of the Arab British Centre.

 

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to severely impact life here in the UK, creating spaces where we can come together for a moment of community, culture and creativity is as essential now as it was back in March last year.”