"Urgent and important, Crook County is a powerful, eye-opening account of the code of the big-city court system. Carefully dissecting this crucial step of the 'school to prison pipeline,' Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve illustrates just how the scales of justice are cynically stacked against black and brown inner city young people, undermining their faith in our criminal justice system. Crook County is a must-read."
—Elijah Anderson, Yale University, author of Code of the Street and The Cosmopolitan Canopy
"Gonzalez Van Cleve's account of the American criminal justice system, based on thousands of hours of careful observation behind the doors of the Cook County-Chicago courthouse, reveals the paradoxes and pain of our modern legal culture, including the effects on the punished and punishers alike. As Van Cleve's investigation so startlingly lays bare, just because legal institutions profess to be colorblind does not make it so. Reading Crook County helps us see the difference."
—Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor, Harvard University
Advance Praise for Crook County
"Beautifully written, and keenly insightful, Crook County is a horror story I couldn't put down. May Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve's masterful book do for the Chicago criminal court what Upton Sinclair's The Jungle did to the meat packing industry: clean it up. Powerful, disturbing and paradigm-shifting, Crook County is ethnography at its best."
—Paul Butler, Georgetown Law, author of The Chokehold: Policing Black Men