Katherine Beckett

Katherine Beckett is a professor in the Department of Sociology and the Law, Societies and Justice Program at the University of Washington Seattle. 

Recent Articles

Violence, Mass Incarceration, and the Myth of Monstrosity

To achieve true criminal justice reform, we must first confront the violence in our country’s past and present.

(Photo: Shutterstock)
(Photo: Shutterstock) A rthur Longworth is currently serving life without the possibility of parole in Washington State. Art committed murder at the age of 20. Now 51, Art has become a teacher, an activist, and an award-winning writer . Several years ago, he had the opportunity to have his clemency petition considered. Art’s lawyer offered two main arguments. The first had to do with Art’s remarkable growth since his conviction. The second concerned the horrific abuse Art experienced as a child at the hands of his parents—and again after the state placed him in a group home for boys. During the hearing, Art’s sister Dawn described the abuse they experienced as children: “My brother and I were tied up, locked up, stripped of our clothes, beaten till we would bleed and pass out. This was normal life for us.” She went on to recount a stunningly sadistic pattern of starvation and abuse that persisted for years, despite the fact that she and Art routinely arrived at school malnourished and...