I’m Peter Moskos, pleased to meet you

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

Many thanks to Radley Balko for asking me to be a guest blogger here on The Agitator. You may be wondering, to borrow a quote, “Who am I and why am I here?”

I’m Peter Moskos, a professor of Law and Police Science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. In some ways–as an ivy-league educated egghead, a tax-and-spend liberal, and a former police officer–I couldn’t be more of a miss-match for The Agitator. So extra kudos to Balko for asking me to write here!

Mostly, given my sociology background, I’m interested in issues of crime and punishment, but I usually focus on things police related. I wrote Cop in the Hood about Baltimore and the War on Drugs. As to the drug war, I’m against it (ahh… I knew Radley and I had something in common). I also have a blog and a new book coming out in a few weeks. But more on the latter, later.

In the meantime, I happy to be here and very pleased to meet you.

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29 Responses to “I’m Peter Moskos, pleased to meet you”

  1. #1 |  bill | 

    John Jay college of criminal justice?!?

    sounds like a big government federalist to me. kidding, cops against the drug war assure me I’m not just against it because I used to like drugs.

  2. #2 |  Elliot | 

    A liberal AND former cop?

    “Get a rope!”

    </satire&rt;

  3. #3 |  Elliot | 

    But seriously, welcome and thanks for filling in.

  4. #4 |  Marc | 

    As a reader of both this blog and your own, is say that you have more than just the drug war in common. Your views on issues surrounding community policing, use of force and the prison industrial complex tend to match in more than a few places. Frankly, your writing along with Balko’s work and my criminal justice education did a lot to convince me not to pursue a career in law enforcement.

    Than again, I’m one of those crazies who thinks liberals and modern libertarians are better matches than libertarians and modern conservatives

  5. #5 |  Marc | 

    As a reader of both this blog and your own, is say that you have more than just the drug war in common. Your views on issues surrounding community policing, use of force and the prison industrial complex tend to match in more than a few places. Frankly, your writing along with Balko’s work and my criminal justice education did a lot to convince me not to pursue a career in law enforcement.

    Than again, I’m one of those crazies who thinks liberals and modern libertarians are better matches than libertarians and modern conservatives

  6. #6 |  Marty | 

    Cop in the Hood was a fun read- welcome aboard!

  7. #7 |  Cleanville Tziabatz | 

    Welcome, Professor Moskos.

  8. #8 |  TomG | 

    Glad to have you guest-blogging.

    Marc, you certainly aren’t the only crazy who thinks liberals and libertarians have more in common than libertarians and modern conservatives.

  9. #9 |  The Mossy Spaniard | 

    Hello, Peter.
    (sniff sniff)
    You’ll do.

  10. #10 |  whaat? | 

    Welcome. I’m a former drug and alcohol counselor and spent eight years on our tri-county alcohol and addictions board. I’m also against the drug war.

  11. #11 |  pegr | 

    Fascinating when my blog worlds collide. Let’s get that Coyote Blog guy in here for kicks.

    (#8: Well done! ;)

  12. #12 |  Bronwyn | 

    Welcome, Peter!

    (Thumbs up to #8)

  13. #13 |  Cornellian | 

    Given your background, I can’t help but wonder what you think of The Wire.

  14. #14 |  auggie | 

    Welcome Peter, I’m a former junkie that grew up in near Baltimore (Laurel). I’m also against the drug war. Thanks for all of your insight.

  15. #15 |  omar | 

    an ivy-league educated egghead

    I don’t think you will find too much anti-education populism around here. Well, if some of the new commentators from yesterday stick around, you may, but I don’t think they represent the regular readers.

  16. #16 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    Is there actually anybody with half a brain *for* the so-called “War on Drugs” these days? We’ve got 2.3 million friggin inmates and growing.

  17. #17 |  NSM | 

    So, you are to Balko what Michael Kinsley was to Buckley?

  18. #18 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Welcome. Looking forward to your contributions. It says a lot for your character that you are willing to participate in a discussion that often focuses on police misconduct.

  19. #19 |  Z | 

    #15 there are tons of post industrial hellholes in upstate NY and central/northeastern PA kept alive solely by the local prison and they welcome the millions of mostly black and brown young men (dealers- users tend to be white) whom they can abuse with impunity for union wages.

    See http://www.villagevoice.com/2010-08-04/news/gladys-carrion-upstate-jails-for-city-kids-bronx/ for a primer.

    And welcome Professor Moskos. From one egghead NYC liberal elitist wine sipping academic to another. :)

  20. #20 |  Deoxy | 

    Define “War on Drugs”. If by that you mean our current attempts to control drug consumption such as cocaine and meth, then no, no one with half a brain is for it.

    If you mean SOME kind of attempt to control drugs that alter the mind, since a free society depends on people being sound enough of mind to understand the consequences of their actions, then I’d be in that camp, I suppose, but the methods I would advocate look nothing like our current actions.

  21. #21 |  Brandon | 

    Deoxy, what would you advocate, beyond what is used now for alcohol?

  22. #22 |  SamK | 

    You’re in better company here than you know Peter, take some time to chat with the folks who comment here and you’ll find a wide variety of takes on social and economic issues. I disagree with some of the free market items but we’re all pretty much on the “leave people alone” libertarian wavelength and almost everyone who posts here actually has something to say whether liberal or conservative. Welcome.

  23. #23 |  Andrew S. | 

    Read Cop in the Hood on Radley’s recommendation (at least I think i was his recommendation). Loved it.

    Welcome. We promise not to run you out on a rail*

    * at least until Radley comes back.

  24. #24 |  Windy | 

    This guest blogging should be really interesting. Hope Radley has a great vacation with great weather and LOTS of relaxation so he comes back refreshed and with restored vigor.

  25. #25 |  OBTC | 

    Thank you for taking the time to blog for the AgitatorTots.

  26. #26 |  Cleanville Tziabatz | 

    Baltimore officers found guilty:

    http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-city/bs-md-ci-officer-misconduct-closings-20110502,0,4167396.story

  27. #27 |  ClubMedSux | 

    Marc, you certainly aren’t the only crazy who thinks liberals and libertarians have more in common than libertarians and modern conservatives.

    I too think I have more in common with my liberal friends than my conservative friends. Unfortunately, my liberal friends don’t seem to agree, and therein lies the rub.

  28. #28 |  Dave Krueger | 

    I have to agree with Marc, TomG, and ClubMedSux. I think there was a time when libertarians identified more with conservatives on the right far more than with liberals, but I think those days are over. By helping to fuel the right wind spending binge along with their support for the drug war and militaristic based foreign policy, they have irreparably alienated themselves from the libertarians. I don’t even think the “libertarian leaning” tea party movement will attract libertarians back to conservative candidates.

    Of course, I could make the same case about liberals doing the same thing by perpetuating the very policies they railed against during the Bush years.

    Politics can now be divided into two schools. Those who embrace government and those who are skeptical of government. The former outnumber the latter by about 10 to 1.

  29. #29 |  Justthisguy | 

    I have read the flogging post at your blog, and I concur. I recall telling the policeman who showed up when my bicycle was almost stolen (by a doodah who was stealing some beer and could not distinguish my bicycle from his) that I thought imprisonment was a waste of public money when it came to larceny, and that thirty licks on the courthouse steps at high noon, and restitution with interest, and having one’s picture published in the newspaper, should wipe the slate clean.

    I will also say that the last crime for which whipping was authorized in Delaware was wife- beating. I have no problem with that, as I think a taste of one’s own medicine is generally the perfect punishment.

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