Reporter Explores America's Unique Take on Justice
National Public Radio (NPR)
The United States is home to less than five percent of the world's population — and almost a quarter of the world's prisoners. Adam Liptak, national legal correspondent for The New York Times, says that's one of the ways America's legal system differs from those of other countries.
Liptak's recent series for The Times, "American Exception," looks at the ways the American justice system is unique — including high incarceration rates, the awarding of punitive damages, felony murder liability for accomplices and commercial bail bondsmen.
"Americans are locked up for crimes — from writing bad checks to using drugs — that would rarely produce prison sentences in other countries," wrote Liptak in his April 23 article, "Inmate Count in U.S. Dwarfs Other Nations."
Liptak adds that prisoners in the U.S. are incarcerated for a longer time than prisoners elsewhere. The reason for the disparity is a matter of debate, but he writes that "the gap between American justice and that of the rest of the world is enormous and growing."
Liptak earned a law degree from Yale University. He joined The Times' news staff in 2002, contributing legal analysis and coverage of the criminal justice system. He also writes the paper's "Sidebar" column, which provides analysis, explanation and commentary on developments in the legal world.
To Listen to the Interview
More on the NY Times series on the American prison system: