DiscoverNew Thinking, from the Center for Court Innovation
New Thinking, from the Center for Court Innovation
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New Thinking, from the Center for Court Innovation

Author: Center for Court Innovation

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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.
197 Episodes
Josie Duffy Rice says remaking the justice system is a generational struggle, but it’s one progressives are winning. The well-known criminal justice commentator and activist, president of the news site The Appeal and host of its podcast, Justice in America, explains why she believes in the power of big ideas and offers her take on the … Continue reading Josie Duffy Rice: Fighting a Big Fight →
Why do some young people carry guns? It’s a difficult question to answer. People in heavily-policed neighborhoods with high rates of violence aren’t generally enthusiastic about answering questions about gun use. In this special episode, hear from three of the authors of a groundbreaking year-long study into young people and guns. The findings are disturbing, … Continue reading Guns, Young People, Hidden Networks →
The movement to reform prisons is about as old as prisons themselves. But what is the ultimate goal of reform of a system like the criminal justice system? Victoria Law and Maya Schenwar contend that many of today’s most popular reforms—such as electronic monitoring and locked-down treatment centers—are extending, rather than countering, the justice system’s … Continue reading Reform and Its Discontents →
While crime of nearly every kind has been declining amid COVID-19, in cities across the country, gun violence and homicides have been the exceptions. Long-time researcher and former Obama DOJ official, Thomas Abt, says there are proven solutions to reduce the violence. But he says both the right and the left fail to grasp the … Continue reading What We All Get Wrong About Gun Violence →
The alleged use of a $20 counterfeit bill, selling loose cigarettes on a street corner, a broken brake light—think how many police encounters that ended with the killing of a Black person began with misdemeanor enforcement. If you want to shrink the role of police and the justice system, misdemeanors are the best place to … Continue reading Misdemeanors, Race, and a History of Injustice →
Restorative justice is about repairing harm. But for Black Americans, what is there to be restored to? This episode features a roundtable with eight members of the Center for Court Innovation’s Restorative Justice in Schools team. They spent three years embedded in five Brooklyn high schools—all five schools are overwhelmingly Black, and all five had … Continue reading Restorative Justice is Racial Justice →
The death of George Floyd after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee to Floyd’s neck for close to nine minutes has triggered a wave of long-held anger and revulsion across the country. Vincent Southerland, the executive director of the Center on Race, Inequality, and the Law at NYU, compares Floyd’s death—in public, in … Continue reading Justice and the Virus: Racial Patterns →
With justice systems across the country scrambling to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a lot of talk about what justice is going to look like when the virus ends. But what has the response actually consisted of—especially from prisons and jails, which have emerged as epicenters of the virus—and is there any reason … Continue reading Justice and the Virus: Rachel Barkow →
The infection rate from COVID-19 in New York City’s Rikers Island jails is currently almost 30 times the rate for the U.S. as a whole. As the city struggled to get people out from behind bars—criticized both for moving too slowly, and for even contemplating releasing anyone early from a jail sentence—it turned to a … Continue reading Getting People Off Rikers Island in a Pandemic →
In cities across the United States, the effects of the coronavirus are not being experienced equally. Whether it’s infection rates, deaths, or job losses, people of low income and people of color are being hit hardest. In New York City, many of those effects are concentrated in communities where public housing is located. The Center … Continue reading The Inequities of COVID-19: A Focus on Public Housing →
Bruce Western’s book, Homeward: Life in the Year After Prison, is, as its title suggests, about the challenges confronting people re-entering society after a period behind bars. But it’s also inevitably about the deep harms of incarceration itself. And moving further backward still, it’s about the problems and life-histories that leave people vulnerable to the … Continue reading Criminal Justice as Social Justice: Bruce Western →
In 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 →
In Practice is a new podcast from the Center for Court Innovation focusing on practitioners—people working on the ground to make things better for those touched by the justice system. On the first episode, host Rob Wolf looks at the challenge domestic violence cases pose to probation departments. Subscribe today (Apple podcasts)!
College Incarcerated

College Incarcerated


At 24, Jarrell Daniels was released from prison after six years behind bars. It was a Thursday. The following Tuesday, he came back to the same facility in street clothes to attend the college class he’d started on the inside. He’s now a sophomore at Columbia University. The class that so inspired him was a … Continue reading College Incarcerated →
With Kim Foxx running for re-election as State’s Attorney in Cook County (Chicago), it’s an excellent moment to revisit one of the best conversations we’ve had on the podcast. Foxx, the first African-American woman to lead the office, has faced a campaign of sustained, often vicious, opposition from the moment she took the job and … Continue reading Kim Foxx: Rooted in Humanity →
Community service has long been a staple of sentencing in the U.S., and has long enjoyed a sunny, mostly uninterrogated, reputation as a more restorative and humane alternative to fines and fees or short-term jail. But two new reports—one from the Center for Court Innovation and one from the UCLA Labor Center—suggest many of the … Continue reading What Do We Know About Community Service? →
The movements to end cash bail and close jails are connected, and gabriel sayegh has been in the thick of organizing both fights. The co-executive director of the Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice explains why he thinks New York’s impending reforms to bail are potentially the most sweeping in the country. And in … Continue reading Ending Bail, Closing Rikers: How Change Happens →
As chief medical officer for New York City jails, Homer Venters realized early in his tenure that for many people dying in jail, the primary cause of death was jail itself. To document these deaths, Venters and his team created a statistical category no one had dared to track before: “jail-attributable deaths.” His work led … Continue reading ‘Jail-Attributable Deaths’ →
Can art transform the criminal justice system? On this special edition of New Thinking, host Matt Watkins sits down with two New York City artists on the rise—Derek Fordjour and Shaun Leonardo—who both work with our Project Reset to provide an arts-based alternative to court and a criminal record for people arrested on a low-level … Continue reading Art vs. Mass Incarceration →
**episode originally aired in October 2018** 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 … Continue reading Beyond the Algorithm: Risk and Race →
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