James Forman Jr., who wrote a powerful book documenting the roots and unintended tragedies of drug-war mass incarceration, and Jake Halpern and Michael Sloan, who told the story of a local Syrian immigrant family’s resettlement in the New Haven area in the Age of Trump, won journalism’s highest honor Monday: the Pulitzer Prize.
Forman, a professor at Yale Law School, won the Pulitzer for general nonfiction for Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America. The book traces the little-discussed role that African-American politicians and ministers played in pushing the mandatory minimum sentencing laws for drug offenses that ended up disproportionately imprisoning and destroying lives of people of color. The book features Forman’s own firsthand look at those effects on real people’s lives when he served as a public defender in Washington D.C.
Click here to read a previous story about Forman and his book. Click on the audio file below to listen to an interview with Forman about his story and about the book, on WNHH FM’s “Kica’s Corner” program with Kica Matos.
Jake Halpern, an author and journalist who lives in East Rock, was part of a volunteer welcoming committee for a Syrian refugee family arriving here just as Donald Trump got elected and proceeded to shut the door on immigrants.
He followed their story and, with graphic artist Sloan, told it in a novel way: through a serial cartoon called Welcome to the New World in The New York Times Magazine. A book/graphic novel is coming out compiling the series. (Click here for a story about Halpern’s reflections on the project.)
An earlier version of this story did not include the fact that Sloan lives in New Haven. Hence the incorrect url.