Mass incarceration is now widely regarded as a prejudiced and deeply harmful set of policies. Bipartisan support exists for some degree of criminal-justice reform, and, in some circles, the idea of prison abolition is also gaining traction. Kai Wright, the host of the WNYC podcast “The United States of Anxiety,” spoke about the movement with Paul Butler, a law professor and former federal prosecutor who saw firsthand the damage that prosecution causes; and sujatha baliga, a MacArthur Foundation fellow who leads the Restorative Justice Project at the nonprofit Impact Justice and a survivor of sexual violence. “Prison abolition doesn’t mean that everybody who’s locked up gets to come home tomorrow,” Butler explains. Instead, activists envision a gradual process of “decarceration,” and the creation of alternative forms of justice and harm reduction. “Abolition, to my mind, isn’t just about ending the prisons,” baliga adds. “It’s about ending binary processes which pit us as ‘us, them,’ ‘right, wrong’; somebody has to be lying, somebody’s telling the truth. That is not the way that we get to healing.”
Adam Schiff, Hakeem Jeffries, and the Framers Weigh In on Impeachment
Last week, the Senate opened the joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss the origins of partisanship in American politics and how it’s playing out in arguments about whether the President should be removed from office.
Ten Years After “The New Jim Crow”
The United States has the largest prison population in the world. But, until the publication of Michelle Alexander’s book “The New Jim Crow,” in 2010, most people didn’t use the term mass incarceration, or consider the practice a social-justice issue. Alexander argued that the increasing imprisonment of black and brown men—through rising arrest rates and longer sentences—was not merely a response to crime but a system of racial control. “The drug war was in part a politically motivated strategy, a backlash to the civil-rights movement, but it was also a reflection of conscious and unconscious biases fuelled by media portrayals of drug users,” Alexander tells . “Those racial stereotypes were resonant of the same stereotypes of slaves and folks during the Jim Crow era.”
As the Impeachment Trial Begins, the Democratic Candidates Struggle to Forcefully Take on President Trump
This week, Democratic Presidential candidates met for their joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss the radical uncertainties of the 2020 race.
In Iowa, the Democratic Candidates Respond to the Conflict with Iran
The New Yorker’s is in Iowa for the month leading up to the Democratic caucuses. Next week’s debate, in Des Moines, was likely going to focus on health care and other domestic issues core to the Democratic platform, but the agenda may instead be dominated by a discussion of the Trump Administration’s killing of the Iranian general Qassem Suleimani and the United States’ fraught history of war in the Middle East. Polls show that Joe Biden is trusted on foreign-policy issues, but Lach suggests that Bernie Sanders’s history of opposing wars—and his quick and confident articulation of his position on Iran—may sway voters seeking a clear message. Nearly a year into the campaign, votes will finally be cast, and in Iowa the deciding factor may involve personal contact more than ideological positions. Iowa voters tend to say, “ ‘I’ve shaken this person’s hand, and I’ve shaken this person’s hand, and I’m going to make my decision after I’ve shaken this other person’s hand.’ That counts for a lot, I think,” Lach says.