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

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.


What We Are Buying Today: Seen Design

Updated 15 January 2021

What We Are Buying Today: Seen Design

Seen Design offers artistic stationery inspired by the Saudi identity. The brand aims to bring new ideas to the sector while representing Saudi women.
Its designs are made by a Saudi team led by Sara Al-Ghamdi, winner of the product of the year prize for 2019.
Patterns and art from Saudi heritage are among the designs displayed with a cheerful modern twist.
Camels, palms, bakhoor burners, ladies with Saudi abayas, prayer mats, and iconic vintage flowers are among the featured images displayed and each collection delivers a message in vibrant hand-drawn doodles, illustrations, and characters invented by the designers.
The stationery designs can be applied to categories including pins, tote bags, agendas, calendars, stickers, and notebooks.
One of the 2021 calendars embodies a traditional Saudi craftsman along with a short script that describes their mission and the folk songs they sang while working.
Items are available online at www.seendesign.net and a worldwide delivery service is offered.