New York City’s infamous jail on Rikers Island is one of the most brutal institutions of incarceration in America. Its conditions are the product not just of “tough-on-crime” policies but also of the best intentions of liberal criminal-justice reformers.
Scott W. Stern is a lawyer and the author of The Trials of Nina McCall: Sex, Surveillance, and the Decades-Long Government Plan to Imprison "Promiscuous" Women.
The history of queer liberation movements is often talked about as distinct from the history of the Left. But in the first half of the twentieth century, queer people were abundant among American radical leftists — decades before the rise of an organized mass movement for gay rights.
The legacy of Margo St James, the trailblazing sex worker organizer who died earlier this month at 83, is more than her brazen personality, more than her bold and flamboyant tactics. She recognized that economic exploitation and gendered harassment are inextricably linked to police violence.
The Left shouldn’t wring its hands about whether we should pack the courts or not. Just pack the courts.