Voir Dire: Conversations from the Criminal Justice Policy Program at Harvard Law School

By HLS Criminal Justice Policy Program

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Harvard Law School's Criminal Justice Policy Program brings you a series of in-depth conversations with the people on the front lines reforming the criminal legal system. Hosted by Schuyler Daum.

Episode Date
Mental Illness & the Criminal System
We discuss mental illness and the criminal system with Alisa Roth, author of Insane: America’s Criminal Treatment of Mental Illness.
Oct 24, 2019
Punishment Without Crime with Alexandra Natapoff
Alexandra Natapoff talks about her new book, Punishment Without Crime: How Our Massive Misdemeanor System Traps the Innocent and Makes America More Unequal. This book is absolutely essential for understanding the criminal system in America. We discuss the misdemeanor system’s role as a system of social control, revenue generation, racial oppression, etc.–but certainly not as a system of justice.
Jun 28, 2019
We Are All Criminals with Emily Baxter
Emily Baxter is the founder of We Are All Criminals. In this episode, we examine the ways in which privilege serves to define criminality. You can see more about the project at https://www.weareallcriminals.org/
May 14, 2019
The Biggest Book Ban in America with James Tager and Robert Pollock
Prison officials regularly block access to huge amounts of reading material for incarcerated people—and they do it in troublingly arbitrary ways. We discuss the written word’s ability to highlight and amplify the humanity of people in prison and the power of information. James Tager is the Deputy Director of Free Expression Research at PEN America and Robert Pollock is the Prison Writing Program Coordinator at PEN America.
Apr 15, 2019
Civil Litigation & Criminal Justice Reform with Anand Swaminathan
This week we talk to Anand Swaminathan, an attorney at Loevy and Loevy—a national firm that does civil rights work adjacent to the criminal legal system. We discuss the role of civil litigators in changing the criminal legal system.
Mar 19, 2019
Is Holistic Defense More Effective with Maya Buenaventura
Holistic defenders in the Bronx saved their clients 1.1 million days of incarceration and saved taxpayers $165 million on housing costs alone, relative to the traditional public defenders practicing in the same court house. This week, we talk to Maya Buenaventura of the Rand Corporation about the Rand Corporation’s study of the holistic defense model and its implications for public defense as a whole. Maya Buenaventura is an attorney and public policy researcher at the RAND Corporation.
Feb 26, 2019
People in Prison Are Getting Older with Darnell and Darryl Epps
By 2030, 1 in 3 people in prison will be 55 or older. We’ll discuss reform to address this trend and what the response to this trend tells us about the role of rehabilitation in the system. Darryl & Darnell Epps are brothers. Darnell is a student at Cornell who works for the Center on the Death Penalty. He recently published an op-ed in the NY Times entitled “The Prison ‘Old-Timers’ Who Gave Me Life: Aging inmates, some serving life sentences, helped me turn my life around. They could do even more good on the outside.” His brother, Darryl, is a Columbia Justice in Education Scholar who also works for the Fortune Society assisting formerly incarcerated people transition back from prison.
Feb 10, 2019
Who Counts as a Victim with Alysia Santo
States provide money to people who have been victims of crime to reimburse them for the costs of their victimization—things like therapy, funerals, etc. But Alysia Santo, an investigative reporter for the Marshall Project, finds that only some people count as victims.
Jan 22, 2019
The Injustice of Sex Offense Registries with Emily Horowitz
We discuss the need to abolish sex offense registries with Emily Horowitz, a professor of sociology & criminal justice and the author of Protecting Our Kids? How Sex Offender Laws Are Failing Us Opens a New Window.
Jan 09, 2019
Police Violence against Women of Color with Andrea Ritchie
Andrea Ritchie is an attorney, organizer, and author of Invisible No More, a recent book about how Black women, Indigenous women, and women of color experience racial profiling, police brutality, and immigration enforcement .
Dec 13, 2018
What a Difference a DA Makes with Rahsaan Hall
Rahsaan Hall is the Director of the ACLU of Massachusetts’s What A Difference a DA Makes Campaign. We discuss progressive prosecution and the ACLU’s campaign to hold prosecutors accountable through public awareness.
Nov 21, 2018
The Trial Penalty with Norman Reimer & Elisa Klein
Trials are supposed to be a fundamental constitutional right. But in today’s criminal legal system, only 3% of federal cases are resolved at trial. I discuss why the endangerment of the American trial is so problematic with Norman Reimer, Executive Director of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and Elisa Klein, Associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.
Nov 08, 2018
Transforming Juvenile Probation with Steve Bishop
383,000 young people were placed on formal or informal probation supervision in 2014. Stephen Bishop, of the Annie E Casey Foundation, thinks that supervision needs to look different. He argues something basic, but powerful: less probation. Putting fewer young people on probation will free up probation resources to turn away from surveillance-based supervision to more constructive and therapeutic probation. We talk about that vision.
Oct 24, 2018
Legalizing Cannabis with Shaleen Title
The criminalization of cannabis was a foundational pillar of the New Jim Crow. Now, the decriminalization of cannabis might just make a small number of white and privileged folks really rich. Shaleen Title is working to make sure that the burgeoning cannabis market in Massachusetts is one that accounts for and corrects that inequity.
Oct 09, 2018
Holistic Defense @ Arch City Defenders with Blake Strode
Arch City Defenders advocates for poor people and people of color who are exploited by the municipal court system in St. Louis. Its Director, Blake Strode, will discuss their aggressively holistic approach and the ways they use direct services and impact litigation to serve their community.
Sep 26, 2018
Paying to Avoid a Shoplifting Charge with John Rappaport
People caught shoplifting can pay $400-$500 to a private company in return for a promise not to call the police and a "restorative justice" class. What?? We discuss the pros and cons of such private adjudication schemes with John Rappaport, Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Chicago.
Sep 11, 2018
A Progressive DA Campaign w/ Boston Candidate Shannon McAuliffe
Boston's Sept. 4 District Attorney elections for have the potential to change the criminal legal system in Boston and be a model for progressive change across the country. Shannon McAuliffe is running for District Attorney of Suffolk County, aka Boston. She is a former public defender and director at Roca, a program that disrupts the cycle of poverty and incarceration by helping high-risk young people transform their lives and avoid the criminal legal system. We talk about what a progressive campaign looks like and what a progressive DA. Learn more at https://www.mcauliffeforda.com/
Aug 30, 2018
Student Scholarship: Solitary Confinement w/ Mental Illness + Cause Lawyer Civil Disobedience
This is the second episode in which we feature student scholarship coming out of HLS. We interview Andrew Hanna about a recent Third Circuit case that could change the landscape of putting people with mental illness in solitary confinement. Then, we talk to Louis Fisher about cause lawyers who might engage in civil disobedience against legal ethics codes.
Aug 21, 2018
Student Scholarship--Bail & the Cost/Benefit of Incarceration
We reached out to all the criminal law professors at HLS and asked what student scholarship had really wowed them in the past year. In these special episodes, we bring you conversations with the Harvard Law students and recent alums whose work is helping to push criminal law scholarship forward. First, Anneke Dunbar Gronke talks about her recent piece in the Harvard Law Review on Commonwealth v. Brangan, a Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court case advancing bail reform. Then, Ben Gifford discusses how and why prison crime has been excluded from economic cost-benefit analyses of incarceration.
Jul 16, 2018
Restorative Justice with Fania Davis
Restorative justice is a paradigm-shifting approach to criminal justice. Fania Davis is a long-time social justice activist, a restorative justice scholar and professor, and a civil rights attorney with a Ph.D. in indigenous knowledge. She is also the Founder of Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth. We'll discuss the restorative justice framework and what it actually looks like on the ground.
May 16, 2018
The Decline of the Death Penalty with Brandon Garrett
Brandon Garrett discusses the precipitous decline in death penalty sentences and executions and his new book, End of its Rope: How Killing the Death Penalty Can Revive Criminal Justice.
May 01, 2018
Bonus: Human Trafficking with Donna Hubbard
Pastor Donna Hubbard works with women who have been trafficked at her organization, the Women at the Well Transition Center, and helps train airline attendants to spot trafficking with Airline Ambassadors International.
Apr 17, 2018
Life Sentence on the Outside with Donna Hubbard and Carl Route
Carl Route describes life after prison as “the life sentence on the outside.” We explore the difficulties of life after prison with activists and reformers Donna Hubbard and Carl Route and discuss their work helping folks return from prison in Atlanta, Georgia.
Apr 17, 2018
Juvenile Justice with Nila Bala and Jesse Kelley
Nila Bala & Jesse Kelley of the R Street Institute help us understand the juvenile justice system and talk about their work to reform the system.
Apr 03, 2018
Bonus: The Conservative Case for Criminal Justice Reform w/ Nila Bala & Jesse Kelley
Nila Balan & Jesse Kelley of the free market think tank, the R Street Institute, talk about a conservative perspective on criminal justice reform.
Apr 03, 2018
Closing Rikers with Elizabeth Glazer
Mayor Bill de Blasio has committed to close Rikers Island, NYC's primary jail. But how exactly do you do that? Elizabeth Glazer, Director of the NYC Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice, talks to us about the gargantuan project that touches just about every corner of the criminal legal system.
Mar 20, 2018
Gender, Punishment, and Social Control with Allison McKim
Women are the fastest growing population in US prisons and jails. At the same time, drug courts are proliferating and new emphasis is being placed on the potential rehabilitative functions of the criminal justice system. Our guest this week, Allison McKim examines two rehab facilities for women--one for women referred by the criminal justice system and one for private payers--and finds fascinating and problematic differences between the two. Her work and our conversation explores the intersection of punishment, gender, and social control in the criminal legal system.
Mar 05, 2018
Community Bail Funds with Pilar Weiss
Community bail funds pool community resources to pay the bail of people who can't afford to post bail while awaiting trial. They make an important impact in the individual lives of people accused of crimes, but they're also helping to take down the money bail system as we know it in this country. This week, I talk to Pilar Weiss, the Project Director of the National Bail Fund Network, about her work and this movement.
Feb 19, 2018
Crimmigration with Phil Torrey
In this episode, we look again at the collateral consequences of involvement with the criminal legal system. "Crimmigration" is the complex field of law that deals with the intersection of the immigration and criminal legal systems. Phil Torrey, Managing Attorney of the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program, a Lecturer on Law, and the Supervising Attorney for the Harvard Immigration Project, will be our guide.
Feb 06, 2018
Public Defenders with Jonathan Rapping
Jonathan Rapping is the founder of Gideon's Promise, an organization dedicated to changing the culture of public defense. He'll describe why the work of public defenders is important, what good public defense looks like, and what public defenders can do to change the criminal legal system.
Jan 24, 2018
The Rise of Big Data Policing with Andrew Ferguson
The use of big data in the criminal legal system raises some thorny legal, cultural, and ethical questions. What level of surveillance are we willing to tolerate? Is data actually objective? What will happen to legal standards like reasonable suspicion as our information changes? These are questions we need to ask and answer soon, because big data is already infiltrating law enforcement and the criminal legal system more broadly.
Dec 13, 2017
Progressive Prosecution with Beth McCann
Beth McCann, the newly elected District Attorney of Denver talks to us about her work, what it means to be a progressive prosecutor, and the role of prosecutors as reformers.
Nov 28, 2017
Bonus Episode: The Sing Sing Gun Buyback with Bianca Tylek
A small group of men at Sing Sing Correctional Facility fundraised nearly $8,000 from other men in the facility for a gun buyback. Bianca Tylek, founder of the Corrections Accountability Project, tells us about her involvement with the project and discusses rehabilitation and the Second Amendment for communities of color.
Nov 20, 2017
Making Money off of Caging People with Bianca Tylek
Have you ever thought about what it means to make money off of caging other people? You should. Vanguard owns 19% of Core Civic, a company with $1.7 billion in revenue that owns, manages, and operates private prisons and detention centers. So millions of Americans are unknowingly invested in Core Civic through Vanguard’s extremely popular retirement accounts and mutual fund products. But private prison companies are only the tip of a much larger iceberg. Prisons and prison services are being commercialized at alarming rates. Bianca Tylek, our guest this week & the Founder of the Corrections Accountability Project, invites us not only to decide how we want our money to be invested, but more importantly to ask whether or not we’re ok with some people profiting off of the caging of others.
Nov 14, 2017
What Happens to Your Kids When You're Arrested? with Emma Ketteringham
Emma Ketteringham, Managing Director of the Family Defense Practice at the Bronx Defenders, tells us how her clients fear the knock of of a child protective services case worker far more than stop and frisk by the police.
Oct 31, 2017
Punished for Being Poor with Sara Zampierin
Debtors prisons were banned in the US in the 1830's. But almost two centuries later, the criminal legal system is still punishing people for being poor. This week, we talk to Sara Zampierin, a Staff Attorney at the Southern Poverty Law Center. She will lay out for us an array of constitutionally and morally questionable practices that trap poor people in the criminal legal system, including excessive cash bail, onerous fines and fees, and self-interested private probation services.
Oct 25, 2017
Sexual Violence in Prison with Dave Rini
Sexual assault is widespread in prison. And sometimes it may feel like nobody cares. But our guest, Dave Rini, runs a collaboration between the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center and the Massachusetts Department of Corrections. He tells us what is happening to people behind bars and what we can do to improve our response to trauma in prison.
Oct 04, 2017
We Put Innocent People Behind Bars with Lisa Kavanaugh
It’s an ugly truth: our criminal legal system sends innocent people to prison. We talk to Lisa Kavanaugh, Director of the Committee for Public Counsel’s Innocence Program, about wrongful convictions, bad forensic science (spoiler alert: there’s a lot), and the ways in which the plight of innocent defendants can highlight the injustices that all defendants face.
Oct 04, 2017
The Psychological Traumas of Leaving Prison with Wesley Caines
Within three years of release, about two-thirds of people released from prison are rearrested. Wesley Caines, the Reentry and Community Outreach Coordinator at the Bronx Defenders, tells us about the traumas of going to prison and the ways in which we set people released from prison up for failure.
Oct 04, 2017
Welcome to Voir Dire
What is Voir Dire? And what can you expect from this podcast?
Oct 04, 2017