Professor, former Baltimore cop and author, Peter Moskos Interview WOTS 026

Welcome to today’s show. I am interviewing Peter Moskos. Moskos is a Harvard and Princeton trained sociologist and former Baltimore City police officer. He focuses on police culture, crime prevention, qualitative methods, and ending the war on drugs as an associate professor in the Department of Law, Police Science, and Criminal Justice Administration at John Jay College of Criminal Justice

About the author

Peter Moskos, a former Baltimore City Police Officer, is an associate professor in the Department of Law, Police Science, and Criminal Justice Administration at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. A Harvard and Princeton trained sociologist, Moskos studies people the old-fashioned way: He talks to them.

In addition to his primary duties at John Jay College, Moskos is a faculty member in CUNY’s Doctoral Programs in Sociology, teaches introductory police classes at LaGuardia Community College in Queens, and is a Senior Fellow of the Yale Urban Ethnography Project.

Moskos’s three books — Cop in the Hood, In Defense of Flogging, and Greek Americans — have won high praise and earned him recognition as one of Atlantic Magazine’s “Brave Thinkers” of the year. He has also published in the Washington Post, Washington Monthly, the New York Times, CNN, Macleans, Pacific Standard, Slate, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and his blog, Peter Moskos can be emailed at:

Moskos is currently working on a book about New York’s crime drop in the 1990s, told from the perspective of police officers who were on the job.

About the book(s)

Cop in the Hood (Princeton University Press)

  • Winner of the 2008 PROSE Award for Best Book in Sociology.
    When Harvard-trained sociologist Peter Moskos left the classroom to become a cop in Baltimore’s Eastern District, he was thrust deep into police culture and the ways of the street–the nerve-rattling patrols, the thriving drug corners, and a world of poverty and violence that outsiders never see. In Cop in the Hood, Moskos reveals the truths he learned on the midnight shift.

Through Moskos’s eyes, we see police academy graduates unprepared for the realities of the street, success measured by number of arrests, and the ultimate failure of the war on drugs. In addition to telling an explosive insider’s story of what it is really like to be a police officer, he makes a passionate argument for drug legalization as the only realistic way to end drug violence–and let cops once again protect and serve.

In Defense of Flogging (Basic Books)

Prisons impose tremendous costs, yet they’re easily ignored. Criminals– even low-level nonviolent offenders– enter our dysfunctional criminal justice system and disappear into a morass that’s safely hidden from public view. Our “tough on crime” political rhetoric offers us no way out, and prison reformers are too quickly dismissed as soft on criminals. Meanwhile, the taxpayer picks up the extraordinary and unnecessary bill.

In Defense of Flogging presents a solution both radical and simple: give criminals a choice between incarceration and the lash. Flogging is punishment: quick, cheap, and honest.

Noted criminologist Peter Moskos, in irrefutable style, shows the logic of the new system while highlighting flaws in the status quo. Flogging may be cruel, but In Defense of Flogging shows us that compared to our broken prison system, it is the lesser of two evils.

Greek Americans: Stuggle and Success (3rd edition) (Transaction Publishers)

This is an engrossing account of Greek Americans—their history, strengths, conflicts, aspirations, and contributions. Blending sociological insight with historical detail, Peter C. and Charles C. Moskos trace the Greek-American experience from the wave of mass immigration in the early 1900s to today. This is the story of immigrants, most of whom worked hard to secure middle-class status. It is also the story of their children and grandchildren, many of whom maintain an attachment to Greek ethnic identity even as they have become one of America’s most successful ethnic groups.

As the authors rightly note, the true measure of Greek-Americans is the immigrants themselves who came to America without knowing the language and without education. They raised solid families in the new country and shouldered responsibilities for those in the old. They laid the basis for an enduring Greek-American community.

Included in this completely revised edition is an introduction by Michael Dukakis and chapters relating to the early struggles of Greeks in America, the Greek Orthodox Church, success in America, and the survival and expansion of Greek identity despite intermarriage. This work will be of value to scholars of ethnic studies, those interested in Greek culture and communities, and sociologists and historians.
• Buy Greek Americans from Transaction or



This episode was also brought to you by Xiphos Books & Training. Xiphos Books is responsible for books such as ‘Welcome to New Orleans… How many shots did you hear? Volume 1 and 2 as well as the fiction novel A Salty Life & A Traitor’s Death. Be sure to stop by their website and look at their books, training and public speaking dates.

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Guest : Peter Moskos



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