The American Society of Criminology has named Mona Lynch’s 2016 book Hard Bargains: The Coercive Power of Drug Laws in Federal Court the winner of the 2017 Michael J. Hindelang Award. The selection committee states, “Hard Bargains is an impressive addition to a rich tradition of court organizational research in criminology…. By focusing on prosecutorial and adjudication practices generating federally sentenced drug defendants, the book reveals this destructive federal legal power in action and makes a compelling argument that containing and redirecting these punitive forces will require more than just formal policy change or change to law on the books.”
In Hard Bargains, Lynch reveals how the convergence of tough-on-crime politics, stiffer sentencing laws, and jurisdictional expansion in the 1970s and 1980s increased the powers of federal prosecutors in unprecedented ways. She documents how prosecutors use punitive federal drug laws to coerce guilty pleas and obtain long prison sentences for defendants—particularly those who are African American—and exposes deep injustices in the federal courts.
Lynch will accept the Hindelang Award at the 2017 ASC Annual Meeting in November.