In this political season, some politicians have discovered criminal justice reform as if it were a new subject. Not Ronald Goldfarb. In The Price of Justice: Money, Morals and Ethical Reform in Law, he gives us an insider’s look into this often mysterious world, one that he has long believed needs significant reform. This compelling book makes two fundamental points. One is that many of our major institutions — health and justice are prime examples — operate for the benefit of its administrators and not its clientele and users. Whether it’s correctional institutions, courts or law schools, that indictment often rings true. Goldfarb’s second fundamental point is that the reality of the justice system differs significantly from its rhetorical goals and purposes. The words “equal justice under law” are etched on the spandrel of the United States Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., and quoted in flowery speeches and legal opinions. But the reality of the justice system differs from its hortatory words. Real civil and criminal justice reform is long overdue, and Goldfarb’s book takes us one step closer. If that wasn’t enough, Bernie Sanders wrote the forward for this book from which this review was adapted; RonaldGoldfarb.com.
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