Book Review - Snitching: Criminal Informants and the Erosion of American Justice

Criminal Justice, Vol. 25, No. 1, p. 44, 2010

U. of Pittsburgh Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2011-06

4 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2011  

David A. Harris

University of Pittsburgh - School of Law

Date Written: February 16, 2011

Abstract

In this brief essay, David Harris reviews Snitching: Criminal Informants and the Erosion of American Justice, by Alexandra Natapoff (New York University Press, 2009). This excellent new book is long overdue. It exposes the use of informants by American law enforcements in all of its tawdry detail, and explains how these practices exact a substantial cost, working against many of the stated objectives of the justice system. These costs include the loss of respect for police and the law itself, the shredding of the social fabric that binds neighborhoods together, and the fact that snitching allows many criminals to remain free, committing more crimes and continuing to victimize law-abiding citizens. Natapoff makes solid suggestions for reform, including the gathering and dissemination of data that would tell the public just how widespread these practices are.

Keywords: informant, snitch, snitching, confidential informant, law enforcement, police, investigation, criminal, criminal law, criminal investigation, police, prosecutor, plea bargain

Suggested Citation

Harris, David A., Book Review - Snitching: Criminal Informants and the Erosion of American Justice (February 16, 2011). Criminal Justice, Vol. 25, No. 1, p. 44, 2010; U. of Pittsburgh Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2011-06. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1762635

David A. Harris (Contact Author)

University of Pittsburgh - School of Law ( email )

3900 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States

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