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Truth is Powerful

Alumnus wins Pulitzer Prize for editorials chronicling criminal justice reform


Native Angeleno and Los Angeles Times editorialist Robert Green ’81. (Photo: Jay L. Clendenin/Copyright 2021. Los Angeles Times. Reprinted with Permission.) By the end of the 20th century, with its three-strikes law and notoriously bad prison conditions, California had built a reputation as being “tough on crime,” according to Los Angeles Times editorial writer Robert Greene . But that standing came with a steep price as, among other effects, overcrowding in prisons landed the state in deep financial and constitutional trouble.

Fortunately, Greene says, recent reforms and public advocacy have moved the state away from a justice system favoring punishment to one that is more multifaceted.

Greene, who graduated in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in English from the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, has almost certainly contributed to that reform. He has covered the state’s legal system for three decades, pointing out its shortcoming and lauding its progress. This year, his work gained its own exceptional notice, winning the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing .

From lawyer to journalist

A native Angeleno, Greene grew up in the San Fernando Valley neighborhood of Woodland Hills and attended El Camino Real High School. From there, he enrolled at USC […]

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