Discretionary Justice: Pardon and Parole in New York from the Revolution to the Depression authored by Carolyn Strange was launched by Doug Craig on Friday afternoon.
Discretionary Justice is the first book to analyze the histories of mercy and parole through the same lens, as related but distinct forms of discretionary decision-making. It draws on governors’ public papers and private correspondence to probe their approach to clemency, and it uses qualitative and quantitative methods to profile petitions for mercy, highlighting controversial cases that stirred public debate. Political pressure to render the use of discretion more certain and less personal grew stronger over the nineteenth century, peaking during constitutional conventionsand reaching its height in the Progressive Era. Yet, New York’s legislators left the power to pardon in the governor’s hands, where it remains today.
Carolyn Strange is a Senior Fellow at the Australian National University. She has published extensively in the fields of criminal justice history and the history of gender and sexuality. A specialist in modern North American history, her work, spanning the fields of history, criminology, law, and gender studies, has appeared in leading journals in the U.S. Canada, Britain and Australia. She has published and edited eight books.