All posts by shawn

Prosecutor Power #8: What’s Next for Progressive Prosecutors?



How can the recent victories of the campaign to elect reform-minded district attorneys be wedded to larger systemic change to ensure the movement’s gains outlast the next election? On the final episode of our Prosecutor Power series, the ACLU’s Somil Trivedi says progressive D.A.s have to take the next step of campaigning to reduce their own power.

Full show notes


Misdemeanors Matter #2: Alexandra Natapoff on a Legacy of Injustice



Alexandra Natapoff calls the misdemeanor justice system a “quiet behemoth”: making up four of every five criminal cases in the U.S., neglected by scholars and reformers, and potentially harming those caught up in it for life. In Punishment Without Crime: How Our Massive Misdemeanor System Traps the Innocent and Makes America More Unequal, she describes a system warped by financial incentives that acts as a leading engine of racial and social inequality. She also says the reforms are obvious, and already happening in pockets across the country.

Full show notes (includes pictures, episode transcript, and resources & references section)


Prosecutor Power #7: Strength in Numbers



The movement to elect reform-minded prosecutors has been around long enough and scored enough victories that progressive D.A.s now have their own support network: Fair and Just Prosecution. Miriam Krinsky, its executive director, explains why she thinks “starry-eyed idealists” who want to transform the justice system need to get the message that “the biggest difference they can make is to go and work in a prosecutor’s office.”

Full show notes (includes pictures, episode transcript, and resources & references section)


Heal and Punish? When Therapy Is the Alternative to Incarceration



How effective is therapy or treatment when it’s used instead of incarceration, and what are the challenges to conducting it inside the coercive context of the criminal justice system? New Thinking host Matt Watkins is joined by clinical psychologist Jacob Ham who works with justice-involved young people affected by trauma, and John Jay College’s Deborah Koetzle who evaluates programs aiming to help participants rebuild lives outside of the justice system.

Full show notes (includes pictures, episode transcript, and resources & references section)


Rikers: An American Jail (Best of 2018)



Highlights from a public screening and panel discussion of Bill Moyers’s ‘Rikers: An American Jail,’ moderated by New Thinking host, Matt Watkins. Commenting on the film and the future of criminal justice reform are Tina Luongo of the Legal Aid Society, Jill Harris of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, and two of the people formerly held on Rikers featured in the film: Barry Campbell of the Fortune Society, and Johnny Perez of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. This episode was originally released in July 2018.

Full show notes (includes pictures, episode transcript, and resources & references section)

 


Prosecutor Power #6: Larry Krasner, The Antagonist



As a defense attorney, Larry Krasner sued the Philadelphia police upwards of 75 times. In late 2017, he was elected D.A. in a landslide. As part of our series on the power of prosecutors, Krasner explains why he has little patience for compromise in a city whose justice system is “an outlier in a country that is an outlier.”

Full show notes


Race, Trauma, and Healing in Crown Heights, Brooklyn



An audio portrait of Make It Happen, our program working with young men of color in Crown Heights, Brooklyn affected by violence. Through interviews with participants and practitioners, the episode explores the intersections of trauma, involvement with the justice system, and the lived experience of race. This episode was originally released in April 2018 and chosen as ‘Best of 2018‘ by the Vera Institute of Justice.

Full show notes (includes pictures, episode transcript, and resources & references section)


Misdemeanors Matter #1: Social Control and the Lower Criminal Courts



In Misdemeanorland, Issa Kohler-Hausmann argues the lower courts are no longer primarily concerned with whether people actually committed the offense they’ve been accused of. Instead, the focus is on future behavior: upholding social order through managing and assessing—often over long stretches—everyone with the misfortune of entering Misdemeanorland. It’s an argument that forces us to rethink what justice should look like in low-level cases.

Full show notes (includes pictures, episode transcript, and resources & references section)


The Most Hot-Button Issue in Criminal Justice Reform?



About two out of three people in local jails are being held awaiting trial, often because they can’t afford bail. What if a mathematical formula could do a more objective job of identifying who could be safely released? That’s the promise of risk assessments. But critics call them “justice by algorithm,” and contend they’re reproducing the bias inherent to the justice system, only this time under the guise of science.

Full show notes (includes pictures, episode transcript, and resources & references section)


Prosecutor Power #4: Kim Foxx, Rooted in Humanity



Kim Foxx’s unexpected 2016 victory in the race for State’s Attorney for Cook County (Chicago) helped to ignite the movement to elect prosecutors promising something other than being “tough on crime.” As part of our series on prosecutor power, Foxx explains the reforms she’s put in place, her struggles with being the face of a system that continues to fail so many of her constituents, and offers her take on the “incredible” gains made by the movement to elect a new kind of prosecutor.

Full show notes (includes pictures, episode transcript, and resources & references section)