Episode 71: Locking Up Our Own w/ Professor James Forman Jr.

For today’s episode, we complicate the narrative about the origins of the War on Drugs and mass incarceration by examining the role of African American lawmakers, police officials, and community leaders in the rise of the current carceral state. We interview Professor James Forman Jr., the J. Skelly Wright Professor of Law at Yale Law School, about his Pulitzer Prize winning book Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America. We begin by discussing how Professor Forman’s personal and professional background shaped his research (10:40) and his motivation for writing the book (14:00). We then have a conversation about the role of the black community in creating criminal justice policies that contributed to mass incarceration (20:22) and how to balance the immediate needs of communities with the potential long-term consequences of criminal justice initiatives (26:45). Next, we discuss whether or not diversity on the police force matters for community-police relations (34:05), the importance of including violent offenders in conversations about criminal justice reform (43:57), and how to address past harm caused by marijuana criminalization (51:02). We close the episode by contextualizing Professor Forman’s work and discussing the public reception of his book (1:06:55).

Other Topics Include:

00:30 - Catch Up with Ty and Daphne

02:45 - BhD News

08:45 - Introduction of the Topic

57:25 - Pretextual Traffic Stops

1:12:40 - Words of Encouragement from Professor Foreman

1:15:38 - Ty and Daphne Reflect on the Interview


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