In case you missed it, over the Summer WNYC’s On The Media aired a three-part series called Repairing Justice.
The first segment, Repairing Justice: The Prosecutor, takes a closer look at the “progressive prosecutor” movement — from neighborhood politics to local media to the presidential debate stage.
According to Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner, “these are long-term problems that require longterm solutions. And the notion that any particular police commissioner, mayor, or DA is going to talk tough and beat their chest for a minute and all of the sudden crime is going to stop is just a fiction, it’s a bunch of nonsense. The reality is that the way that we make people safe is by having more money in education and less money in prisons, and more money in treatment, and more money in economic development and more money in job training. It’s by making sure that 16-year old young men, predominantly, do not feel that their lives have no value and pick up guns. That’s how you do it.”
The second segment, Repairing Justice: An Alternative to Prison, highlights a new approach some advocates are pushing for based not on punishment, but on truth and reconciliation. It’s called “restorative justice,” and in this episode, the host speaks with Danielle Sered, Executive Director of Common Justice here in New York City.
According to Sered, “part of the problem with incarceration is it treats a thousand different problems with one single tool, and that’s never going to produce meaningful results. The best results will always come from a variety of interventions that are actually appropriate to the kind of harm someone is causing to change. But on the other hand… we spend $80 billion on our corrections system… however small our operations are, however intensive our services, it would take us a lot to get to $1 million cost per case, and I think all of us can understand that if we have those kinds of resources to invest in a single person, that at much, much smaller levels we can invest in results that actually transform. The other thing that’s true too that if you start to do things in response to violence that actually reduce it, then the volume in the criminal justice system will diminish and you won’t have to do as much.”
The last segment, Repairing Justice: How to Fix the Internet, takes on the paradox that while harassment and bullying are plaguing our online lives, social media companies seem fresh out of solutions.
According to Lindsay Blackwell, a Facebook user experience researcher, “the big problem with the Internet is really the big problem with humanity at large, it’s that…we aren’t very nice to each other. Until platforms shift their focus to behavioral change and really digging into the root causes of the behavior, I don’t think content moderation alone can ever solve this problem.”
Inspired by restorative justice dialogue, Blackwell teams up with On The Media to arrange direct dialogue between several people that have been in conflict on a Reddit forum.