Decarceration Nation Podcast (with Josh and Joel): Episode One “Martin Luther King Jr. Day” + Notes

The Decarceration Nation Podcast (With Josh and Joel)

Welcome to the new podcast "Decarceration Nation" which I am co-hosting with my friend Joel. We will be focusing on the need for serious reform of our systems of incarceration in the United States with an emphasis on bringing people back from prison ready to reconnect and succeed.

As soon as we get Itunes approval, I will include the Itunes link here too.

Notes From Episode 1 "MLK Day"

These notes are intended to add context and depth to your listening experience of the Decarceration Nation podcast. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask either by leaving a comment or by sending me a Tweet.

Information on Josh

Josh is a formerly incarcerated freelance writer and criminal justice advocate. He works with a criminal justice reform group called Nation Outside (an organization supporting formerly incarcerated people and their allies) and volunteers with the Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency. He also attends meetings of the Michigan Collaborative to End Mass Incarceration as well as meetings of Friends of Restorative Justice Washtenaw County (FORJ).

Josh writes extensively about incarceration, including pieces on Daily Kos and his recaps of the series Orange Is the New Black. He is also the author of the book Writing Your Own Best Story: Addiction and Living Hope.

Information on Joel

Joel has worked for a long time as a property manager for a company that works hard to provide supportive housing for all people (regardless of wealth or status). Through his work, he has worked closely with many people returning from jails and prisons. He is also widely recognized as one of the nicest people in the world (not kidding, ask anyone who knows him).

Links to Research and Clarifications

90% of inmates will come back to our communities:

There are many sources for this information, but going to the source is always the best policy, so I am using the Bureau of Justice Statistics document about trends in reentry.

60% Recidivism Rate

The National Institue of Justice actually puts the statistic at 67%.

The Main Triggers of Recidivism are Economic Insecurity, Housing Insecurity, and lack of Community Connection:

I could spend all day citing research here, so I am just going to share a few links. Here is a good general press piece from Harvard on housing insecurity and recidivism. The Vera Insitute did a series on reentry that will give you more context.

What Is the Supportive Housing Model?

The Corporation for Supportive Housing defines supportive housing and explains many of its features in this fact sheet.

Housing As A Basic Human Right

Let’s ask one of the founders of Habitat for Humanity, former President Jimmy Carter, who gave a recent interview on this subject.

Black People Are Five Times More Likely To Be Incarcerated Than Whites For The Same Crimes

I used the study, “The Color of Justice” by Dr. Ashley Nellis, as the citation for this fact. The rest of the results are even more disturbing.

The David Roodman Meta-Analysis, The Impact of Incarceration On Crime

This study is pretty foundational to our project, Mr. Roodman concludes that incarceration generates more crime than it prevents. A lengthy read but a very important one.

Prison Makes Addiction Worse

This is another point that I could have linked 1000 articles but here is a relatively recent Human Rights Watch piece concluding that prison is a poor way to treat addicts.

Recidivism Rate for Murders

This is a CBS article with a discussion of the low-recidivism rate for murderers.

The Reverse Mass Incarceration Act

Here is the Bill.

Here is the Brennan Center paper that inspired the Bill. Very important new approach to reducing incarceration, well worth a read.

A Mistake

I said corporations don’t have an investment in inmates, they do have an investment in inmates (which is part of the problem), what they do not have is an investment in the successful reintegration of inmates.

Medicaid and Workfare

Here is a link to a recent piece that I wrote summarizing all of the research on the Medicaid expansion and on Workfare requirements for Medicaid.

Please feel free to ask questions (as long as they are civil)

Call to Action:

As I mentioned before, I am active in a group called Nation Outside. We are a group of formerly incarcerated people and allies who work together in Michigan to bring meaningful change to our broken criminal justice system.

Please think about joining and/or supporting our efforts, signing up is easy!

In particular, we hope formerly incarcerated people in Michigan will join us and stand with us to try to create a better system in Michigan. 

Thanks so much for listening and reading!