A staggering 2.2 million people are locked up in America’s sprawling prison system, and more than half of those currently confined in state prisons have been convicted of violent crime. In order to radically reduce the prison population and transform criminal justice in this country, author and community organizer Danielle Sered argues that reformers must reckon with violent crime and come up with radically new ways to address it. She lays out a path for this transformation in her new unflinching book, Until We Reckon. Sered has spent nearly a decade working directly with people that have committed violent acts and survivors of violence as the executive director of Common Justice, a Brooklyn-based organization that offers alternatives to incarceration for people charged with violent felonies. Her experience anchors her book as she calls for a complete overhaul of the way we’ve been taught to think about crime, punishment and justice. We speak with Sered about restorative justice and how incarceration perpetuates the very violence it is meant to curb.
AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh.
NERMEEN SHAIKH: We end today’s show with criminal justice reform and the fight to end mass incarceration. Criminal justice reform has gained momentum in recent years, with 2020 Democratic presidential candidates vowing to take on the issue, and a number of states across the country tackling everything from cash bail to sentencing reform. But these efforts have focused almost entirely on nonviolent and drug offenses, while sidestepping a problem at the core of what Michelle Alexander calls “America’s addiction to incarceration”: violence. A staggering 2.2 million people are locked up in America’s sprawling prison system, and more than half of those currently confined in state prisons have been convicted of…