The Believer’s February issue featured an interview with Colin Dayan, author of The Law is a White Dog. Only a short excerpt is available on the web site, so pick up the full magazine to read the entire thing:
THE BELIEVER: Wait. You’re saying that the subjective component that matters here—in cases about prison cruelty—is not the prisoner’s experience but the state of mind of the alleged abuser? What matters is whether a guard or warden intended harm rather than whether the prisoner is harmed?
COLIN DAYAN: Exactly. No matter how much actual suffering is experienced by a prisoner, if you can’t establish that harm was intended, then the effect of that harm on the prisoner is not a matter for judicial review.
BLVR: And that’s a Supreme Court decision.
The timing of this interview is particularly good as a roundtable on The Law is a White Dog is planned for the Association for the Study of Law, Culture, and Humanities meetings at Birkbeck, University of London, March 22, 2013.