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Justice In America

Justice In America

Author: The Appeal

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Justice in America, hosted by Josie Duffy Rice and Clint Smith III, is a podcast for everyone interested in criminal justice reform— from those new to the system to experts who want to know more. Each episode we cover a new criminal justice issue. We explain how it works and look at its impact on people, particularly poor people and people of color. We’ll also interview activists, practitioners, experts, journalists, organizers, and others, to learn. By the end of the episode, you’ll walk away with a better understanding of what drives mass incarceration and what can fix it.

The first season will cover bail, plea deals, prosecutors, prosecutor elections, voter disenfranchisement, crimmigration, women and families in the criminal justice system, and more. It will feature interviews with Ta-Nehisi Coates, Rashad Robinson, John Legend, Gina Clayton, John Pfaff, and more.
11 Episodes
Episode 9: How Democrats and Republicans Created Mass Incarceration
There are a few schools of thought regarding the origins of mass incarceration. Some blame Reagan and his” war on drugs,” while others blame Bill Clinton’s 1994 Crime Bill. Meanwhile, movies like Ava Duvernay’s 13th have drawn the direct parallels between slavery, Jim Crow, and our racist incarceration system. Each of these theories is correct, at least in part. Yes, it is undoubtedly true that mass incarceration cannot be divorced from prior systems of racial subjugation in America. And yes, Reagan and Clinton helped to perpetuate mass incarceration. But in her book From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime, our guest Elizabeth Hinton, a professor of History and African American studies at Harvard, argues that the modern roots of mass incarceration can be traced even further back, to president Lyndon B. Johnson. Johnson, a Democrat, is famous for helping usher in key Civil Rights victories, from the Voting Rights Act to the Civil Rights Act. And he spent much of his tenure fighting for low-income Americans, implementing a series of domestic policies that he called the War on Poverty. But he also pushed for harsher punishments and a larger law enforcement presence, particularly in communities of color. Under Johnson, the federal government started pouring tons of money into local law enforcement, which gave them the tools they needed to lock up millions of people. On this episode, we discuss how both parties helped perpetuate mass incarceration in the years immediately following the Civil Rights movement. We also discuss why it is that, during the 70s and 80s, black elected officials were some of the most ardent supporters of mass incarceration. Professor Hinton joins us to talk about how both Democrats and Republicans are responsible for the mass incarceration system we have today. For more information and resources please visit
Comments (5)

Rik Landon

I'm a truck local truck driver. there are many podcasts an audio books out there. I've recently discovered this new world of information at my fingertip. being on the road for several hours at a time gives me much downtime or rather time to listen. I very much enjoy your podcast having come out of the penal system. while it's a bit easier to follow an audiobook usually an autobiography I tried to stay focused on message when listening to your podcast. there's a lot of meat on the bone with which to chew which takes more of my concentration then would otherwise be the case while reading or rather listening to books. I thank you for your service and concern for Humanity in the works that you do. Your are passion and love for community is evidenced by the thought-provoking guests you have on your show. You guys do an outstanding job keep up the good work.

Dec 7th

Carlos Santana

This is a great podcast! Keep up the great work.

Nov 19th

Timothy Hayden

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Oct 3rd

Lydie E. Glynn

great episode. highly informative, thorough and addresses very significant issues.

Sep 2nd

Kirsten Baumhover

Thank you for making such an important and timely podcast, with powerful content and great information. Keep fighting the good fight, and I'm sharing this will friends and family so the message an spread!!

Aug 18th
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