Glenn Loury
The Glenn Show
Charles Fain Lehman – Urban Crime, Police Misconduct and the Drug Crisis

Charles Fain Lehman – Urban Crime, Police Misconduct and the Drug Crisis


In this week’s episode, Glenn is joined by Charles Fain Lehman, fellow at the Manhattan Institute and contributing editor at City Journal. The two discuss the effects of progressive criminal justice initiatives like bail reform and discovery reform. Charles surveys a few major American cities’ efforts to get crime rates back to pre-2020 levels. Though some crimes are trending down, assault remains a problem in cities like New York. As for law enforcement, Charles says that police recruitment is still a major problem, though signing bonuses are helping. As for misconduct, while he’s skeptical toward public employee unions, police unions seem neither to help nor hinder efforts to ensure cops follow department guidelines. The conversation then shifts to the drug crisis. Charles notes that we’re in a period of social toleration towards drugs, with all of the problems that go along with it. He raises newly legalized sports betting as a point of comparison—he sees the same worrying addiction problems there. Ultimately, he says, the best way to treat serious addiction seems to be long-term, medically assisted treatment.

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0:00 New York Governor Kathy Hochul’s controversial decision to post the National Guard in the subway

4:25 Charles defends pretrial detentions …

12:45 … but he sees the problem with long pretrial detentions

19:05 The ongoing—and occasionally halting—recovery from 2020

23:21 Are any major cities doing law enforcement and criminal justice right?

29:52 Charles: I’ve seen no evidence that police unions abet misconduct

34:38 Charles’s unsexy solutions for decreasing police misconduct

38:00 Our present drift toward social toleration of drug use

43:40 The perils of legalized sports gambling

49:57 Charles: Long-term, medically assisted treatment is the best way to get addiction rates down

53:06 Are we under-counting hate crimes?

Recorded March 22, 2024

Links and Readings

Charles’s Substack, The Causal Fallacy

Charles’s City Journal piece, “Yes, New York’s Bail Reform Has Increased Crime”

Charles and co-author Elias Neibart’s Manhattan Institute report, “Is Less Always More? The Unintended Consequences of New York State’s Parole Reform”

Glenn’s conversation with Matthew Martens

Matthew Martens’s book, Reforming Criminal Justice: A Christian Proposal

Charles and co-author Reihan Salam’s Atlantic piece, “We’re Underfunding the Police”

Tom Wolfe’s book, The Bonfire of the Vanities

Charles’s Substack post, “The Police Unions Puzzle”

Glenn’s conversation with Philip K. Howard

Philip K. Howard’s book, Not Accountable: Rethinking the Constitutionality of Public Employee Unions

Charles’s City Journal piece, “Combat the Drug Crisis”


Glenn Loury
The Glenn Show
Race, inequality, and economics in the US and throughout the world from Glenn Loury, Professor of Economics at Brown University and Paulson Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute