Lynn Adelman

  • March 12, 2018
    Guest Post

    by the Honorable Lynn Adelman, district judge in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin

    *This piece was originally published in the Winter 2018 issue of Dissent Magazine

    On November 4, 1995, Leandro Andrade walked into a K-Mart in Ontario, California, and attempted to shoplift five children’s videotapes. He was caught by a security guard and promptly arrested. Two weeks later, he walked into another K-Mart in nearby Montclair and tried to steal four more videotapes. Again, he was caught and arrested on the spot. This time, he was tried and convicted in a California state court of two counts of petty theft with a prior conviction. His sentence for stealing $153 worth of VHS tapes? Fifty years in prison.

  • January 23, 2018
    Guest Post

    by the Honorable Lynn Adelman, district judge in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin.

    *This piece was originally posted in the fall issue of Litigation

    The United States today has a serious over-punishment problem. Beginning in the 1960s and 70s, the country embarked on a shift in penal policies, tripling the percentage of convicted felons sentenced to prison and doubling the length of their sentences.  As a result, America has become an outlier, not just among democracies but among all nations—including such highly punitive states as Russia and South Africa. The United States’ current incarceration rate is five times higher than the rate throughout most of the twentieth century. The very phrase—“mass incarceration”—is meant to provoke shame that the world’s wealthiest democracy imprisons so many people, though crime rates have fallen.