Decarceration Nation (with Josh and Joel): Episode Two "Dealing With Violence"

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 criminal justice and incarceration in the United States with an emphasis on bringing people back from prison ready to succeed.

Decarceration Nation is now available on iTunes, we would love for you to subscribe from the iTunes store. We are also available on

Notes From Episode Two "Dealing With Violence"

My book "Writing Your Own Best Story: Addiction & Living Hope" is available as an ebook or in paperback on

Okay, first we were talking about the cost of violence, much of that came from the Justice Policy institute paper Defining Violence: Reducing Incarceration by Rethinking America's Approach to Violence.

That incarceration increases future welfare dependency is from this 2015 study from Michael Mueller-Smith.

The claim that prison doesn't reduce recidivism comes from this 2011 study named (appropriately) "Prison Doesn't Reduce Recidivism."

When I said that violent crimes have low recidivism, I was relying on several studies and papers some of which was summarized in this paper from Michigan and in the Justice Policy report cited above.

The claim "violence is a moment of time not a sign of inherent criminality" comes from the Justice Policy Institute paper cited above and from the work of John Pfaff. You can read more about this in his book "Locked In" available on or anywhere books are sold.  You can read more about this in his popular press articles as well. 

Mr. Pfaff is also responsible for providing the research backing most of the suggested solutions and the aging out of violence claims. Here is a good summary of his suggestions for alternative answers to violence.

The proof of the racial disparities in prosecuting and incarcerating violence came from several places, but here is a good overview in terms of homicide and here are some overall statistics in terms of likelihood to be convicted or falsely convicted.

The arguments I made about deterrence can be summarized both in the Pfaff work and also in this overview on the overall deterrent effects. There is also this very comprehensive meta-analysis that suggests, at best, a limited deterrent effect from incarceration.

I made several claims about sex offender recidivism and promised to share a video. Here is the video (the director of this video also made a full-length documentary about sex offender registries called Untouchable).

As for the studies about recidivism, you can find all of the major studies discussed in this Amicus brief from the 6th Circuit Doe's v. Snyder decision.

James Gilligan has written several books about Shame and Violence. Preventing Violence and Violence: Reflections on a National Epidemic are two of them.

Here is a quick link to some information on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy but there are literally hundreds of studies on this subject.

Here is a link to the groundbreaking Vera Institute paper by Danielle Sered about Restorative Justice you can also read: The Little Book of Restorative Justice, by Howard Zehr, Good Books, Intercourse, PA, 2002.

The organizations I am affiliated in some way with are:

Nation Outside (Michigan)

Friends of Restorative Justice

The Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency

Some of the articles that I sent to Joel (homework) to read before we recorded Episode 2 were:

Another article by John Pfaff and this book. Here is a study of the deterrent effects of hot-spot and other "in the moment" styles of policing. Also, while this is merely correlative, it seems apparent that releasing more prisoners does not seem to be having a massive cost in increasing crime.

Okay, that's it. Hopefully, I will have Episode 3 up soon. Enjoy!