Voir Dire: Conversations from the Criminal Justice Policy Program at Harvard Law School-logo

Voir Dire: Conversations from the Criminal Justice Policy Program at Harvard Law School

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Harvard Law School's Criminal Justice Policy Program brings you a series of in-depth conversations with the people on the front lines reforming the criminal legal system. Hosted by Schuyler Daum.

Harvard Law School's Criminal Justice Policy Program brings you a series of in-depth conversations with the people on the front lines reforming the criminal legal system. Hosted by Schuyler Daum.
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Harvard Law School's Criminal Justice Policy Program brings you a series of in-depth conversations with the people on the front lines reforming the criminal legal system. Hosted by Schuyler Daum.




Paying to Avoid a Shoplifting Charge with John Rappaport

People caught shoplifting can pay $400-$500 to a private company in return for a promise not to call the police and a "restorative justice" class. What?? We discuss the pros and cons of such private adjudication schemes with John Rappaport, Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Chicago.


A Progressive DA Campaign w/ Boston Candidate Shannon McAuliffe

Boston's Sept. 4 District Attorney elections for have the potential to change the criminal legal system in Boston and be a model for progressive change across the country. Shannon McAuliffe is running for District Attorney of Suffolk County, aka Boston. She is a former public defender and director at Roca, a program that disrupts the cycle of poverty and incarceration by helping high-risk young people transform their lives and avoid the criminal legal system. We talk about what a...


Student Scholarship: Solitary Confinement w/ Mental Illness + Cause Lawyer Civil Disobedience

This is the second episode in which we feature student scholarship coming out of HLS. We interview Andrew Hanna about a recent Third Circuit case that could change the landscape of putting people with mental illness in solitary confinement. Then, we talk to Louis Fisher about cause lawyers who might engage in civil disobedience against legal ethics codes.


Student Scholarship--Bail & the Cost/Benefit of Incarceration

We reached out to all the criminal law professors at HLS and asked what student scholarship had really wowed them in the past year. In these special episodes, we bring you conversations with the Harvard Law students and recent alums whose work is helping to push criminal law scholarship forward. First, Anneke Dunbar Gronke talks about her recent piece in the Harvard Law Review on Commonwealth v. Brangan, a Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court case advancing bail reform. Then, Ben Gifford...


Restorative Justice with Fania Davis

Restorative justice is a paradigm-shifting approach to criminal justice. Fania Davis is a long-time social justice activist, a restorative justice scholar and professor, and a civil rights attorney with a Ph.D. in indigenous knowledge. She is also the Founder of Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth. We'll discuss the restorative justice framework and what it actually looks like on the ground.


The Decline of the Death Penalty with Brandon Garrett

Brandon Garrett discusses the precipitous decline in death penalty sentences and executions and his new book, End of its Rope: How Killing the Death Penalty Can Revive Criminal Justice.


Bonus: Human Trafficking with Donna Hubbard

Pastor Donna Hubbard works with women who have been trafficked at her organization, the Women at the Well Transition Center, and helps train airline attendants to spot trafficking with Airline Ambassadors International.


Life Sentence on the Outside with Donna Hubbard and Carl Route

Carl Route describes life after prison as “the life sentence on the outside.” We explore the difficulties of life after prison with activists and reformers Donna Hubbard and Carl Route and discuss their work helping folks return from prison in Atlanta, Georgia.


Juvenile Justice with Nila Bala and Jesse Kelley

Nila Bala & Jesse Kelley of the R Street Institute help us understand the juvenile justice system and talk about their work to reform the system.


Bonus: The Conservative Case for Criminal Justice Reform w/ Nila Bala & Jesse Kelley

Nila Balan & Jesse Kelley of the free market think tank, the R Street Institute, talk about a conservative perspective on criminal justice reform.


Closing Rikers with Elizabeth Glazer

Mayor Bill de Blasio has committed to close Rikers Island, NYC's primary jail. But how exactly do you do that? Elizabeth Glazer, Director of the NYC Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice, talks to us about the gargantuan project that touches just about every corner of the criminal legal system.


Community Bail Funds with Pilar Weiss

Community bail funds pool community resources to pay the bail of people who can't afford to post bail while awaiting trial. They make an important impact in the individual lives of people accused of crimes, but they're also helping to take down the money bail system as we know it in this country. This week, I talk to Pilar Weiss, the Project Director of the National Bail Fund Network, about her work and this movement.


Crimmigration with Phil Torrey

In this episode, we look again at the collateral consequences of involvement with the criminal legal system. "Crimmigration" is the complex field of law that deals with the intersection of the immigration and criminal legal systems. Phil Torrey, Managing Attorney of the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program, a Lecturer on Law, and the Supervising Attorney for the Harvard Immigration Project, will be our guide.


Public Defenders with Jonathan Rapping

Jonathan Rapping is the founder of Gideon's Promise, an organization dedicated to changing the culture of public defense. He'll describe why the work of public defenders is important, what good public defense looks like, and what public defenders can do to change the criminal legal system.


The Rise of Big Data Policing with Andrew Ferguson

The use of big data in the criminal legal system raises some thorny legal, cultural, and ethical questions. What level of surveillance are we willing to tolerate? Is data actually objective? What will happen to legal standards like reasonable suspicion as our information changes? These are questions we need to ask and answer soon, because big data is already infiltrating law enforcement and the criminal legal system more broadly.


Progressive Prosecution with Beth McCann

Beth McCann, the newly elected District Attorney of Denver talks to us about her work, what it means to be a progressive prosecutor, and the role of prosecutors as reformers.


Making Money off of Caging People with Bianca Tylek

Have you ever thought about what it means to make money off of caging other people? You should. Vanguard owns 19% of Core Civic, a company with $1.7 billion in revenue that owns, manages, and operates private prisons and detention centers. So millions of Americans are unknowingly invested in Core Civic through Vanguard’s extremely popular retirement accounts and mutual fund products. But private prison companies are only the tip of a much larger iceberg. Prisons and prison services are...


What Happens to Your Kids When You're Arrested? with Emma Ketteringham

Emma Ketteringham, Managing Director of the Family Defense Practice at the Bronx Defenders, tells us how her clients fear the knock of of a child protective services case worker far more than stop and frisk by the police.


Punished for Being Poor with Sara Zampierin

Debtors prisons were banned in the US in the 1830's. But almost two centuries later, the criminal legal system is still punishing people for being poor. This week, we talk to Sara Zampierin, a Staff Attorney at the Southern Poverty Law Center. She will lay out for us an array of constitutionally and morally questionable practices that trap poor people in the criminal legal system, including excessive cash bail, onerous fines and fees, and self-interested private probation services.


Sexual Violence in Prison with Dave Rini

Sexual assault is widespread in prison. And sometimes it may feel like nobody cares. But our guest, Dave Rini, runs a collaboration between the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center and the Massachusetts Department of Corrections. He tells us what is happening to people behind bars and what we can do to improve our response to trauma in prison.