Topeka K. Sam hosts the Sixth episode of her radio miniseries Last Mile Second Chances. It airs on Sunday, February 11, 2018, at 9 am EST on Channel 126 on Sirius XM.
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Many people recognize that we have a problem of too many people being locked up. We know that mass incarceration has over 2.2 million people behind bars, but what we also need to understand is that there is a punishment system that has different kinds of control and imprisonment. Some people call that the carceral state while others simply call it the criminal justice system. Whatever you call it, there are many millions of people tethered to state control, all who have already been punished and done their time.
What we fail to talk about is the 4.7 million people on pre-trial, probation, parole or federal supervision. This number doesn’t include the people in detention centers for immigration and children in baby jails or in state-monitored programs or who are now being electronically monitored and surveilled.
The prison industry costs about 1 billion dollars a year, but the human cost is beyond measure. In particular the ongoing devastation to the black community and other communities of color.
Tomorrow, we look at the hidden incarceration from people with lived experiences. Probation should be a time when people who are released from prison are helped with all kinds of resources to transition back into their communities and rebuild their lives.
It is supposed to be how the system recognizes that individuals have a second chance. Instead of believing in rehabilitation, it is a system that continues the punishment and is designed for people to fail.
This show features host Topeka K. Sam interviewing experts:
James Kilgore– In 2015, he published Understanding Mass Incarceration: A People’s Guide to the Key Civil Rights Struggle of Our Time; he has also carried out a research project on electronic monitoring in the criminal justice system (PowerPoint presentation) (PDF of 39-page report), active in local social justice campaigns such as Build Programs Not Jails, and author of many articles, reviews, and essays.
Vivanne Guevara– Vivianne Guevara is the Director of Client and Mitigation Services at the Federal Defenders of New York in the Eastern District and has been working as a Defender for over 9 years. Prior to joining the Federal Defenders of New York, Vivianne was an Investigator and Social Worker at the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta, Georgia, where she supported litigation that challenged conditions in juvenile and adult jails and prisons in Georgia and Alabama, the provision of indigent defense in Georgia, and the proliferation of debtor’s prisons in Georgia. Before that, Vivianne began working in public defense as a social worker at the Bronx Defenders.
Johny Perez– Director of U.S. Prisons Program for the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. Before this, Mr. Perez has served as a Safe Reentry Advocate for the Urban Justice Center’s Mental Health Project. Mr. Perez has worked to change the status quo of unjust policies and practices as a member of pro-social groups including the Jails Action Coalition, the Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement (CAIC), and the New York Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. He is also a member of the Bar Association’s Correction and Reentry Committee.