Charles Davis

Recent Articles

For Now, California Bails on Bail Reform

The bail industry, now abetted by big insurance companies, chalks up another victory for its lobbyists.

AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli
Capital & Main is an award-winning publication that reports from California on economic, political and social issues. The American Prospect is co-publishing this piece. Few will defend, on principle, keeping someone behind bars just because they don’t have the money to get out. In practice, however, while anyone awaiting trial is considered innocent until proven guilty, there are tens of thousands of people—many of whom will never be convicted of anything—sitting in jail cells right now due not to a criminal conviction, but simply because their bank accounts are empty. But efforts to reform that system in California, one of the United States’ leading jailers, have always met the same fate, following an intense push by the multinational bail industry. In 2013, a reform measure passed the state Senate “but died in the Assembly after heavy lobbying” from that industry, as The Los Angeles Times reported . This year, a measure that would have largely...

The Shoemaker and the Tea Party: Memory and the American Revolution

The Shoemaker and the Tea Party: Memory and the American Revolution , by Alfred F. Young. Beacon Press, 288 pages, $15.00. A lfred F. Young seeks to illuminate the American Revolution by examining the life of George Robert Twelves Hewes, a rank-and-file tradesman whose name appears with peculiar frequency in early American documents. What led a poor shoemaker to venture into the political arena at such a tumultuous time? Young asks. And how did taking action affect Hewes's life? And more generally, why has Hewes been granted a place in history when the majority of his peers have been forgotten? Young was drawn to Hewes for practical reasons: An inordinately large amount of print material about him has survived. The author dutifully chronicles the events of the shoemaker's life--his apprenticeship at a young age, his attempt to join the military (which failed because he didn't meet the height requirement), his shoemaking business, and later his presence at the Boston Massacre and...