A good mate at University was a democratic socialist. After graduating in law, he joined the Director of Public Prosecutions. He is still there as a senior counsel. That is the new name for a Queens Counsel in Tasmania.
The reason he gave for his career choice, he was a top-notch graduate with a great career ahead of him, was the poor were mostly the victims of crime. The best he could do for them was to put those that victimised them in prison by being a public prosecutor. As William Julius Wilson explains:
As Leon Neyfakh points out, some people are reluctant to talk about the high murder rate in cities like Milwaukee because
(1) it might distract attention from the vital discussions about police violence against blacks, and
(2) it runs the risk of providing ammunition to those who resist criminal justice reform efforts regarding policing and sentencing policy.
These are legitimate concerns, of course. On the other hand, it is vital to draw more attention to the low priority placed on solving the high murder rates in poor inner-city neighbourhoods, reflected in the woefully inadequate resources provided to homicide detectives struggling to solve killings in those areas. As Jill Leovy, a writer at Los Angeles Times asserts in her 2014 book Ghettoside, this represents one of the great moral failings of our criminal justice system and indeed of our whole society. The thousands of poor grieving African American families whose loved ones have been killed tend to be disregarded or ignored, including by the media.
The nation’s consciousness has been raised by the repeated acts of police brutality against blacks. But the problem of public space violence—seen in the extraordinary distress, trauma and pain many poor inner-city families experience following the killing of a family member or close relative—also deserves our special attention. These losses represent another social and political imperative, described to me by sociologist Loïc Wacquant in the following terms: “The Other Side of Black Lives Matter.” They do indeed.