The Bonus Book of the Week is “From Jailer to Jailed, My Journey from Correction and Police Commissioner to Inmate #84888-054” by Bernard. B. Kerik, published in 2015.
While he was in prison, Kerik met many people whose punishments he felt were too severe or inappropriate (including his own, of course), given the crimes they’d committed.
The author recommended that all employees of the American justice system “…should have to spend seventy-two hours in the hole [solitary confinement in prison] to see what it’s like.” This way, the law enforcers would understand how psychologically damaging such punishment is, and might impose it with more discretion.
Throughout the book, Kerik repeatedly complained about the “… insane money our country wastes on incarcerating people who could be dealt with, punished in alternative ways.”
In May 2003, to the tune of $120 million compliments of American taxpayers, Kerik went to Iraq with a few tens of other men to try to rebuild a local law enforcement system modeled on the West’s notions of justice meted out for street crime.
Ten years later, Kerik realized it had been an epic fail. Saddam Hussein’s regime had sadistic cops administering torture at the drop of a hat, and Americans’ efforts to change their attitudes, even in the absence of Saddam, were too little and misguided, to put it generously.
In November 2007, thanks to viciously vengeful political enemies, Kerik was charged with sixteen counts’ worth of federal crimes. He felt the judge was outrageously unfair to him.
Read the book to learn of Kerik’s experiences and his well-informed suggestions for how to improve America’s criminal justice system.