New Thinking is a podcast about justice—and injustice—in America. It’s about the people working to fix a justice system that falls so short of our ideals, and the people organizing to build something new in its place. It’s hosted by Matt Watkins and produced by the Center for Court Innovation.
The Question of Dirty Work
39:32Eyal Press contends there are entire areas of life we’ve delegated to “dirty workers”—functions we’ve declared necessary, but that we strive to keep hidden. In his new book, Dirty Work: Essential Jobs and the Hidden Toll of Inequality in America, Press points to the transformation of jails and prisons into the country’s largest mental health … Continue reading The Question of Dirty Work →
Taking Reform Out of Its Comfort Zone
34:13Justice reforms often exclude people with charges involving violence, even though these are the same people most likely to be incarcerated and to be in the most need of the programs and treatment reform can bring. But a felony court in Manhattan is offering alternatives to incarceration, regardless of charge. Can a treatment-first approach be … Continue reading Taking Reform Out of Its Comfort Zone →
The Crisis on Rikers IslandAn audio snapshot from an emergency rally demanding immediate measures to release people from New York City’s Rikers Island jail. Eleven people have died in the custody of the city’s jail system this year as Rikers’ chief medical officer warns of “a collapse in basic jail operations.”
Cages Don’t Help Us Heal
30:52Hurt people hurt people. That’s not an excuse for harm, but it fuels much of the criminal legal system. At 19, Marlon Peterson was the unarmed lookout on a robbery where two people were killed. Peterson spent a decade behind bars. He writes about those years, and the childhood in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, that preceded … Continue reading Cages Don’t Help Us Heal →
One of These Days We Might Find Us Some Free: Reginald Dwayne Betts
42:59In 1996, 16-year-old Reginald Dwayne Betts was sentenced to nine years in prison for a carjacking. He spent much of that time reading, and eventually writing. After prison, he went to Yale Law School and published a memoir and three books of poems. But he’s still wrestling with what “after prison” means. This is a … Continue reading One of These Days We Might Find Us Some Free: Reginald Dwayne Betts →
The Cycle: Police Violence, Black Rebellion
37:36In her new book, historian Elizabeth Hinton highlights a “crucible period” of often violent rebellions in the name of the Black freedom struggle beginning in 1968. Initiated in almost every instance by police violence, the rebellions—dismissed as “riots”—have been largely written out of the history of the civil rights era. Hinton contends the period is … Continue reading The Cycle: Police Violence, Black Rebellion →
Policing, Race, and a Crisis in Mental Health
38:04One of every four people killed by police is experiencing a mental health emergency. Changing how we respond to crisis in the moment, and to widespread, ongoing mental health needs, means deferring to the leadership of people with lived experience and putting racial equity at the center of every reform. On today’s episode, listening to … Continue reading Policing, Race, and a Crisis in Mental Health →
Does the Criminal Justice System Cause Crime?
36:14What’s the most effective way to reduce the chance of an arrest in the future? A new study suggests it’s shrinking the size of the justice system in the here and now. Boston D.A. Rachael Rollins and the director of NYU’s Public Safety Lab, Anna Harvey, talk about the benefits of not prosecuting low-level charges—an … Continue reading Does the Criminal Justice System Cause Crime? →
How Will the Death Penalty End?
36:46Journalist Maurice Chammah says the federal execution spree during the final weeks of the Trump presidency is evidence of the death penalty’s continued decline, not its resurgence. Chammah is the author of the new book, Let the Lord Sort Them: The Rise and Fall of the Death Penalty. Chammah tracks the long arc of the … Continue reading How Will the Death Penalty End? →
COVID-19 Behind Bars: A Pandemic of Neglect
38:42Homer Venters has been inspecting prisons, jails, and ICE detention centers for COVID-compliance almost since the start of the pandemic. The former chief medical officer for New York City jails says what were already substandard health systems and abusive environments have deteriorated sharply, where even people positive for the virus can languish unseen for days. … Continue reading COVID-19 Behind Bars: A Pandemic of Neglect →