The Machinery of Criminal Justice discusses the shift in American criminal law from being a system run primarily by laymen to a system in which lawyers are the primary actors. Author Stephanos Bibas argues that this shift has increased the speed and efficiency of our criminal justice system, but that softer values, such as reforming defendants and healing relationships, have been lost with the prioritization of efficiency. Bibas proposes a variety of ways to involve victims, defendants, and the public in the criminal justice process again, including requiring convicts to work or serve in the military and giving more power to sentencing juries over prosecutors. His remarks suggest that, although these mechanisms may be more expensive, they may better serve the interests of criminal procedure by facilitating the denouncement of crime, the vindication of victims, and the reformation of criminals.
Stephanos Bibas, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, is joined by critical commenter Andrew Taslitz, a professor at Howard University School of Law, to discuss the book.