Prosecuting the Informant Culture

Alexandra Natapoff, in her outstanding new book, Snitching: Criminal Informants and the Erosion of American Justice, makes a compelling case for reform of the system by which we regulate police use of criminal informants. Indeed, as other writers have discussed, law enforcement’s overreliance on such informants has led to a “snitching culture” in which informant snitching replaces other forms of law enforcement investigation (pp. 12, 31, 88-89). Yet snitches, especially jailhouse snitches, are notoriously unreliable.